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Services in DCS

It is a web-based system designed and rolled out by the Department of Children Services in collaboration with stakeholders to provide a National Child Protection Database. The system is designed to capture child level case management and intervention data while generating timely and accurate data for evidence-based programming and decision making.

Objective of CPIMS:

The main objective of CPIMS is to provide comprehensive and quality National Child Protection Data and enrich case management for child protection for both State and Non-State Actors in the sector. 

Specific objectives of the CPIMS are to:

  • Provide an integrated case management system bringing together the DCS HQ, Counties, Sub County offices, Statutory and Charitable institutions, National Child Helpline 116, bursary schemes, care reforms and OVC care programs.
  • Develop a framework to guarantee secure access to high quality child protection data. 
  • Harmonize all child protection data collection and reporting tools among both state and non-state actors.
  • Provide Timely, accurate and reliable child protection data and reports.
  • Provide a centralized registry for child protection data.
  • To enhance coordination of child protection intervention.


Child Protection Stakeholders in CPIMS

CPIMS is supported by partners covering 47 counties in Kenya.

The Presidential Secondary School Bursary (PSSB) is a flagship project of vision 2030 that seeks to reduce illiteracy by increasing access to education and improving transition rates from primary to secondary schools.

Children comprise over 50% of the Kenyan population.

The number of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) has been on the increase. The ministry implements the Cash transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC- CT) since 2004.

The bursary is a Government’s commitment in actualizing legal requirement of the constitution Art. 53 (b) on access to free and compulsory education and Section 13(1), of the Children Act 2022.

The government started the School Fees Bursary for OVC in 2006/2007 F/Y as a complementary service to support OVC in Secondary Schools. It changed its name to Presidential Secondary School Bursary (PSSB) for OVCs in 2013/14 F/Y.

Objectives of Bursary Scheme include:

  • To increase the number of OVC enrolled, retained and transiting to and from boarding secondary schools;
  • To increase the number of OVC who have completed secondary education (Form IV);
  • To build the capacity of the OVC so that they can become self-reliant;
  • To enhance child protection by keeping children in a safe environment.

Constituency Bursary allocation and Administrative structures

All the 290 Constituencies in the Country are allocated an equal amount of money which is about 1.35M. The bursary is administered at the Constituency level, through a committee known as Presidential Bursary Sub-committee which is a sub-committee of the Constituency Social Assistance Committee (CSAC). It receives vets and approves application forms. 

It also creates awareness on the bursary in the constituency. The area MP is the designated patron of the Committee. 

County Bursary Committee 

  • Receive and review all beneficiary lists from the constituencies and approve payment of bursary.
  • Review any Complaints and Grievances (C&G) issues from the constituencies

Bursary Annual Allocation

The Treasury has been allocating an average of Ksh. 400M every year. Fees allocated per beneficiary is a maximum of Ksh. 30,000 annually. 

Year Annual Allocation Number of Students


Annual Allocation

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Who qualifies for bursary?

  • He/she must be an Orphan/Vulnerable Child from a very poor household;
  • The beneficiary must be enrolled in a public boarding secondary school;
  • The beneficiary must be under 18 years of age at entry point into the bursary Scheme;
  • He/she must be resident in the target Location within the Constituency;
  • Needy children from statutory institutions.

Achievements of the PSSB

  • It has helped in the transition of students from primary school to secondary school
  • About 250,000 Orphans and Vulnerable Children have been able to access secondary education up to completion of form 4 and have become self-reliant 
  • A number of OVC have qualified and proceeded to institutions of higher learning
  • Enhanced child protection and reduced drop out among OVC

The National Child Helpline 116 service is a telephone and web-based service that provides an avenue for children and members of the public to report incidences of child abuse and neglect and be linked with essential services through a coordinated referral system nationwide. The Helpline also offers telephone counseling services and other forms of psychosocial support. It is a significant reporting mechanism for child protection related concerns with a national reach. The service is managed in partnership between the Government of Kenya through the Directorate of Children Services (DCS) and Childline Kenya in a public-private partnership arrangement.

The National Child Helpline runs 24 hours toll free and is accessible by simply dialing 116. Helpline services are also available through WhatsApp (0722116116), Facebook (Child Helpline 116 – Kenya. The Helpline receives more than half a million calls annually.

There are counselors working on shift to cover the 24 hours daily. Through the Helpline, children can access psychosocial support including counseling, child therapy and family therapy. Referrals are also made, for access to specialized services like medication, safe shelter, legal aid, education support, reunification with families and reintegration. The helpline team also actively educates the public on child safety, working with key government agencies and child protection partners in all 47 counties.

The National Child Helpline service has been operational on the 116 platform since 2008. The number 116 belongs to the Government and currently Childline Kenya supports day to day operations at the facility as a technical partner. There are two Helpline Call Centres serving the child helpline nationally, one call Centre is in Nairobi County and the second one in Uasin Gishu County. Both centres are housed within Government facilities. 

Response to cases reported through the Helpline is coordinated by the Children Officers situated at the Helpline call centres in liaison with the County and Sub-County Children Officers across the country as well as other child protection actors. The data documented at the helpline call centres is automatically captured on Government’s National Child Protection Information Management System.

All call Centre counselors undergo continuous training and benefit from professional debriefing and clinical supervision as part of self-care and capacity building.

The child helpline is an important service because: 

  1. It is affordable to the client as long as they can access a gadget (telephone, computer or tablet). They do not need telephone airtime to make the call. Also, they can reach out through social media if they have internet.
  2. The client can anonymously provide as much information as they want, in the safety of their home.
  3. Documentation of the call/case is both manual and automatic. The conversation can be accessed in case there are missed details or if required in court as evidence. 
  4. There is a limited need to travel from one point to another to access help. Counseling and provision of information can be done online through the child helpline.
  5. Child Helpline 116 is integrated with CPIMS for effective referral and case management.
  6. Case management and referral structures.

Exposure to violence at a young age can result in risky behaviour and susceptibility to lifelong social, emotional, and cognitive problems. Nationally, cases of violence among children are rampant. Children face physical, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect, peer-to-peer violence, and bullying among others. The perpetrators of these vices are often persons closest to them – family, friends, or relatives.

Many of these incidences go unreported because of the pre-existing social norms. Some communities have normalized violence against children and more often feel that these incidences do not warrant reporting, yet families and communities have an important role in protecting children from violence and abuse.

Although stakeholders recognize how detrimental the effects of violence are to children’s well-being, several challenges exist that pose a challenge to effective child abuse management and reporting. This includes inability to consistently track reported cases and lack of integration and involvement of the community. 

To ensure that children who go through abuse get justice, Plan International Kenya in partnership with Directotrate of Children’s Services (DCS) and Pajat Solutions Ltd (a mobile software solutions company) developed VuruguMapper. Vurugu is a Swahili name for violence – ‘Violence Mapper’.

A first of its kind in Kenya, the mobile application innovation will enhance the current National Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS) system to capture, report, document and monitor cases of violence against children.

VuruguMapper - Digitizing data collection and case management for child protection in Kenya.

How it Works: 

First launched in April 2014, in Kilifi and Kwale Counties as a pilot programme, VuruguMapper application was able to register a significant success as 59 cases were reported within the first three weeks. Twenty-two of those cases were solved and marked as closed in system.

The mobile based solution primarily used by Child Protection Volunteers (CPVs), paralegals and Community Health Promoters (CHVs) loads a case load form with the necessary fields to report a case.

Depending on the nature of the case reported, an SMS pack with information on what action to take is sent to the user. For example, if it’s a sexual abuse case, the information pack will remind the user of how to preserve evidence by for instance not bathing the child. After a case is reported, the DCS designated person (Sub- County Children’s Officer – SCCO) receives an SMS notification to verify the reported case. Upon verification, an SMS notification with the action taken is sent back to the CPV/Paralegal/CHP who reported the case.

The system is designed with a self-triggering escalation mechanism via text messages. Whenever the set time expires and a case log has not been updated with action taken, the case is escalated within the Directorate of Children’s Services reporting hierarchy. This continues until the case is closed by an authorized user with an appropriate explanation. Whenever an update is done on the case by either the police, hospital, DPP, or SCCO, an SMS with an updated summary is sent to the user who reported the case. This ensures that the user (CPV/paralegal/CHP) who reported the case is always in the know whenever there is an update and can inform the parents or guardians of the case progress.

The Directorate of Children Services has reported that having VuruguMapper integrated to the current National Child Protection Information Management System boosts accountability mechanisms in the child protection processes through strengthening of child protection structures, systems, and procedures. In addition, the application aids in real time documentation which assists in formulating a proper work plan to the cases being reported.

VuruguMapper enables a ‘systems-based approach’ to child protection and leverages on the opportunities brought about by Kenya’s fast-growing mobile technology penetration and Information Communication Technology (ICT) expansion with high community acceptance, to support the DCS County Offices have an effective and efficient child protection system.


  • VuruguMapper provide a platform for electronically reporting and documenting cases that may not have otherwise been reported due to economic constraints or fear of victimization. The platform ensures that vulnerable and marginalized children have an improved chance to access justice. It alleviates the cost incurred for travelling to a police station in case it is far, to report an incident.
  • By having a nation-wide rollout, VuruguMapper will provide efficiency and effectiveness in the following ways.Provide real time communication, that is, the DCS knows about the cases immediately they occur, and they will ensure adequate resource
  • Shared confidentiality amongst the Police, DCS and Health to reduce chances of corruption and kangaroo courts since the cases are handled by more than one entity.
  • Directly show cases received in the server and reference can be made to past cases on a need basis.
  • Ensure that system messages to Child Protection Officers are managed professionally and uniformly thereby ensuring that the officers are held accountable.
  • Through sensitization, the community can alert Child Protection Officers on child abuse cases
  • Confidentiality – cases are deleted from phone once submitted to server.

The VuruguMapper application, which is now embedded in the National Child Protection Information Management System, is currently being used in Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Nairobi counties. It has enhanced the efficiency of data collection/reporting on child protection cases, but it will also ensure that there is timely and quality response to these cases, so that the children involved are supported with the necessary services to aide in their recovery. Plan International celebrates this milestone in strengthening our national child protection system; they will continue to work in partnership with DCS in this venture, and they greatly anticipate the full roll out of the integrated system in the country for the welfare and benefit of all children.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, the 2019UNGA Resolution on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children (ACRWC) reaffirms the significance and the leading role of the family in the care, nurturing, growth and development of children. 

The Constitution of Kenya recognizes the family as a fundamental unit of society and the necessary basis for social order and bestows the responsibility of childcare on the child’s biological family. It is therefore anchored in law that children should, as much as possible, live with and be cared for by their families of birth.

Around the world, an estimated 5.4 million children continue to live in Children’s Homes and other institutions of last resort due to poverty, discrimination, and insufficient access to basic services, among other factors. Once separated from their families and communities, children in institutions are deprived of the love, attention and opportunities they need to develop and flourish.

The situation in Kenya fits this global scenario. There are an estimated 45,000 children living in over 845 Charitable Children’s Institutions (CCIs) – privately run residential institutions overseen by the Directorate of Children’s Services (DCS). In addition, there are an estimated 1,000–1,200 children living in 28 government-run institutions, including rehabilitation, remand, reception, and rescue Centre’s. A lack of comprehensive data on the number of institutions means that the true scope and scale of institutionalization in Kenya is largely unknown. Some of the major drivers of institutionalization in Kenya include poverty, disability, displacement and orphanhood, mainly, as a result of HIV/AIDS.

There is overwhelming evidence that children under institutional care suffer severe and sometimes irreparable developmental setbacks as opposed to their counterparts in family and community-based care. The studies show that at least eight out of ten of these children have biological and extended families and, with appropriate support, their families could look after them. On this basis, the Government has taken deliberate steps to transform the childcare system in the country. It continues to support family strengthening initiatives such as cash transfers and other prevention and response programs to ensure that children are not unnecessarily separated from their families.

To fully align with globally accepted standards of care, the Government in collaboration with other likeminded players in the children’s sector adopted a unified and holistic approach towards reforming the childcare system by developing the National Care Reform Strategy for Children in Kenya. The strategy, developed with support of UNICEF and a multi sectoral Care Reform Core Team, under the leadership of the National Council for Children’s Services (NCCS), seeks to guide national steps towards Prevention and Family Strengthening, robust alternative family care, home tracing, reintegration and transitioning from institutional care to Family and Community Based Care for all children in need of care and protection. It sets out areas of focus for various agencies in the sector for the next ten years and calls for collaborative effort and active coordination to achieve collective impact approach. In addition, various agencies have developed supportive documents to operationalize National strategy. 

Care reform is a priority and an obligation that is shared by both state and non-state actors in the children   sector, we call upon all the stakeholders to embrace this agenda and play part in implementing the strategy. In Kenya, much efforts have been put in place towards implementation of care reforms. This includes but not limited pilot program in Kisumu county which was scaled up to more demonstration counties (Kilifi, Nyamira, Kiambu, Muranga, Meru, Kirinyaga, Garissa,Turkana, Nairobi, Nakuru, and still ongoing). The Situational analysis of children in Statutory and private Children institutions was conducted in six counties to inform scaling up of care reforms. Benchmarking study visits have been undertaken in the following countries; Rwanda, USA, UK to learn the care reform best practices. The Alternative care module within the Child Protection Information management system has been enhanced to capture data on children.

Together we will need to mainstream child protection, alternative care, and family care and community-based care into national social protection systems and programmes to ensure holistic and integrated approaches, continuity and sustainability.

The Ministry is calling upon all partners and stakeholders to forge together in complementing the Government efforts to transform the childcare system from institution-based care to family and community-based care. The successful implementation of this strategy will make it possible for children in Kenya to enjoy their right to grow up in a family environment and receive appropriate care for wholesome growth and development.


Child online protection refers to the measures taken to safeguard children from potential risks and harm that may arise from their use of the internet and other digital technologies. Children are spending more time online than ever before. Around the world, a child goes online for the first time every half second. 

Growing up online offers limitless opportunities. Children learn, imagine and develop their social networks through computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and televisions. When used in the right way – and accessible to all – the internet has the potential to broaden horizons and ignite creativity in children.

But with these opportunities come serious risks.

Cyberbullying and other forms of peer-to-peer violence can affect children each time they log in to social media or instant messaging platforms. When browsing the internet, children may be exposed to hate speech and violent content – including messages that incite self-harm and even suicide.

Most alarming is the threat of online sexual exploitation and abuse. It has never been easier for child sex offenders to contact their potential victims, share imagery and encourage others to commit offences. Children may be victimized through the production, distribution and consumption of sexual abuse materials, or they may be groomed for sexual exploitation, with abusers attempting to meet them in person or exhort them for explicit content. Findings of the Disrupting Harm Survey Kenya 2021 indicate that children in Kenya have experienced online child sexual exploitation and abuse: 10% were asked for a photo or video showing their private parts, 7% offered money or gifts in return for sexual images or videos, 3% threatened or blackmailed online to engage in sexual activities, 7% had their sexual images shared with others without their consent and 5% accepted money or gifts in exchange for sexual images or videos

In the digital world, any person from any location can create and store sexually exploitative content. Child sex offenders may even livestream sexual abuse from the confines of their homes, directing on-demand abuse of children far away.

As children embrace more digital platforms, they too may self-generate sexually explicit imagery. And though these images might be intended for an age-appropriate relationship, they can end up widely shared without consent. Sometimes, trusted adults solicit children to share imagery. For a child victim, this may result in social isolation, mental health issues, substance abuse, self-harm or suicide, and an increased likelihood of exhibiting abusive behaviors themselves in adulthood.

To this end, DCS has developed a 5 year multis-ectoral National Plan of Action to Tackle Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

  • Functions of the Department:
  • Implement the costed 5-year National Plan of Action (NPA) To Tackle Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse 2022 – 2026 (NPA)
  • Provide secretariat for the multiagency Technical Working Group on Child Online Protection
  • Disseminate the NPA to policymakers and decision-makers of MCDAs for buy-in and implementation.
  • Capacity build professionals e.g. children officers, police, prosecutors, magistrates, social workers, media personnel and teachers on online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA)
  • Empower children with skills to enable them to remain safe in the digital environment
  • Develop and implement the National Social Service Workforce Manual on OCSEA
  • Develop and implement the National Standard Operating Procedures on OCSEA
  • Partner with the DCI – Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit
  • Disseminate the NPA in all 47 counties
  • Sensitize parents and guardians on digital parenting
  • Mark the Safer Internet Day annually
  • Convene biannual stakeholders meeting on child online protection
  • Coordinates partners implementing programmes on child online protection


Every child must be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse on the internet.

All forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or children negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse. (UNCRC, 1989). 

  • Nearly half of females (45.9%) and more than half of males (56.1%) experienced childhood violence in Kenya. 
  • Among the 15.6% of females who experienced childhood sexual violence, nearly two thirds (62.6%) experienced multiple incidents before age 18. 
  • Physical violence is the most common type of violence experienced in childhood in Kenya. Nearly two out of five females (38.8.%) and half of males (51.9%) experienced childhood physical violence. 
  • Childhood emotional violence by peers is also common, affecting 30.9% of females and 31.0% of males.
  • Types of Violence Against Children:
  • Sexual violence: includes non-consensual completed sexual contact with a child (defilement), attempted sexual contact, acts of a sexual nature not involving contact (such as voyeurism or sexual harassment); acts of sexual trafficking committed against someone who is unable to consent or refuse.
  • Bullying (including cyber-bullying): This is unwanted aggressive behaviour by another child or group of children who are neither siblings nor in a romantic relationship with the victim. It involves repeated physical, psychological or social harm, and often takes place in schools and other settings where children gather, and online.
  • Emotional or psychological violence: This includes restricting a child’s movements, denigration, ridicule, threats and intimidation, discrimination, rejection and other non-physical forms of hostile treatment.
  • Witnessing Domestic Violence: (involves physical, sexual and emotional violence by parents, an intimate partner or ex-partner.)
  • Maltreatment (including violent punishment): involves physical, sexual and psychological/emotional violence; and neglect of infants, children and adolescents by parents, caregivers and other authority figures, most often in the home but also in settings such as schools and orphanages.
  • Harmful Cultural Practices includes: Forced Male circumcision, Female Genital Mutilation, Child marriage, Virginity Testing, Girl child beading, Organ change or removal in case of an intersex child (except with advice of a doctor and any other cultural, religious rite, custom or practice that is likely to affect a child’s life health, social wellbeing, dignity, physical, emotional wellbeing

Impact of Violence Against Children:

Violence can result in death, lead to severe injuries, impair brain and nervous system development, result in negative coping and health risk behaviours, lead to unintended pregnancies, induced abortions, gynaecological problems, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, contribute to a wide range of non-communicable diseases, impact opportunities and future generations. 

Prevention and Response to VAC:

Violence against children can be prevented.

The Directorate of Children Services launched the VAC SURVEY REPORT 2019.

The PLAN is currently being implemented

The first VAC survey was conducted in the year 2010 which acted as a baseline. Key results showed that 80% of children in Kenya had been victims of one or more forms of violence. A second VAC Survey conducted in 2019 showed that prevalence of incidences of VAC had reduced from 80% to 55%, which marked a significant reduction in VAC. Consequently a survey was commissioned which sought to explain this great achievement. In November 2023 results of a qualitative survey, which explained reasons behind the reduction in the prevalence of VAC, were released.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizen Affairs is mandated to oversee the implementation of the Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTiP) Act, 2010. The Act was enacted in 2010 and came into force in 2012. The Act aims to implement Kenya’s obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, particularly its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. The Act covers the offences of trafficking in persons and other related offences, modalities of trial of offenders and victim assistance.

The Act provides for the establishment of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Advisory Committee whose primary function is to advise the Cabinet Secretary on interagency activities aimed at combating trafficking and implementation of preventive, protective and rehabilitative programmes for victims of trafficking in persons.

The Act also provides for the establishment of the National Assistance Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons administered by a Board of Trustees, which is already in place. Its primary function is to assist victims of trafficking. This includes return to and from Kenya; resettlement; re-integration; provision of appropriate shelter and other basic needs; psychosocial support; appropriate medical assistance; legal assistance or legal information including information on the relevant judicial and administrative proceedings; any other necessary assistance a victim may require and payment of balance of damages awarded to a victim by a court of law.

The Act further provides for the establishment of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, which oversees the implementations of the functions of the Advisory Committee and the Trust Fund.

The Nutrition Improvements through Cash and Health Education (NICHE) falls under the Kenya Social Economic and Inclusion Programme (KSEIP) that seeks to increase access to social and economic inclusion interventions. The programme is designed to improve the nutritional status of children in their first 1,000 days of life based on positive results of a pilot that was undertaken by the Government and UNICEF in Kitui County in 2017. 

From the results of this pilot, the Government through the support of World Bank, DFID, UNICEF and other Development partners agreed to scale up NICHE Program to 4 other Counties with high rates of malnutrition evidenced by stunting and wasting among children namely; West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit and Kilifi for a period of 5 years. 

As a complementary programme that combines provision of cash and nutrition counselling NICHE seeks to improve social protection through cash interventions in the life cycle. It targets members in the existing households of Inua Jamii cash transfer programmes, that is, Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Cash Transfer for Older Persons, Cash Transfer for Persons with Severe Disability and Hunger Safety Net Cash Transfer. A cash transfer top-up is provided to improve health outcomes for both women (pregnant and lactating mothers) and children up to 2 years in the participating counties. A household with one child who is under 2 years or pregnant mother will qualify for a top-up of KSh.500 per month while household with more than two children under the age of 2 years or more than two pregnant mothers will qualify for Ksh.1000 per month. 

The programme will have an additional child protection component in Kilifi County on a pilot basis. It will provide a platform to strengthen child protection through adequate nutrition, security, safety and responsive care by introducing child protection interventions in positive parenting initiatives, violence against children (VAC) response and prevention, and promotion of alternative family-based care. 

NICHE objectives:    

The overall goal is to ensure that most vulnerable children in intervention areas of selected counties, show improved well-being in the areas of nutrition, social protection and child protection.


Overall, the programme aimed to reach 23,500 households with nutrition-sensitive cash transfer a means to improve well-being in nutrition, child protection and social protection. However the number keeps fluctuating due to exit of beneficiaries based on age.

Eligibility Criteria

Beneficiaries will be registered into the NICHE program if they are;

  • Permanent residents of Kitui, Kilifi, Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot Counties
  • Living in a household already in receipt of a National Safety Net Programme (NSNP) cash transfer, or the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP)
  • A pregnant woman or a child of under the age of 15 months (at the point of first enrolment)


Each NICHE beneficiary will receive a top-up transfer of KSh. 500 up to a household cap of KSh. 1,000 per month, in the event of two or more beneficiaries.  Considering the payments will be made bi-monthly (every two months) alongside the households’ core transfers, the households will therefore receive top ups of KES 1,000 (in case of a single beneficiary) or KES2,000 (in case of multiple beneficiaries). Payment of NICHE top-ups will follow the same systems and procedures as those for core NSNP transfers – in which case Directorate of Social Assistance (DSA) will be responsible for making the top up payments through the contracted payment service providers.