This is a sector of the community-based services department, whose mandatory functions are statutory and non-statutory.
These functions are geared towards the improvement of the welfare and rights of children, their protection and development.
Above all, major concern is on the vulnerable children of this district, whose aspiration, and needs and problems are yet to be addressed jealously. Below are the categories of the groups of children:
– Children in conflict with the law – well over 250, who continue committing both civil and criminal cases..
– The abused children – over 100, e.g. being defiled, raped, tortured, denied love and care and subjected to child labour.
– Orphaned children due to loss of one or both parents over 100,000 are learning for protection and development.
– Destitute – over 50 children are usually faced with destitution, trying to look for a meaningful way of survival, security and many others. Some end up being core criminals and in the street.
– Street children – a study was done in Lira by CEASOP in 1993, and save the children in 2005 whereby over 40 children were found to be loitering and having no places of abode but living and staying in the street. But as of now, we anticipate the number has overwhelmed that figure. In 2008 an assessment of street children was done and 250 children are living on the street.
– Children in the armed conflict. The number of abducted is about 2,252 (Lira Planning Unit record) and over 525 have returned from captivity. The condition of those who have returned and in the war ravaged areas calls for more attention in terms of the essential services, psychosocial counselling and reintegration.
– Children in need of care and protection. This is as a result of gross neglect, failure to provide the basic requirements, educational needs, parental guidance etc, has left quite a number of children in desperate conditions from the beginning of this year to date over 450 cases were reported for failure to maintain children by mainly the putative fathers.
– Poor parentage – is very common whereby children found themselves missing the harmonious socialization influences from their biological fathers or mothers. The collected number registered in the daily welfare books is well over 150 children.
Probation has now been merged with youth sector to make one section known as probation and youth section.
The sub-sector also liaises with other partners in the implementation of its programmes:
– Training of teachers (patrons) on children rights; formation of child rights club (CRC) in schools and supplying child rights club with club materials (stationery, costumes etc). These programmes are supported by National Council for Children (NCC), Save the Children
– Training local councils on children Act in conjunction with NCC and UNICEF, Save the Children.
– Identify, register and place Formally Abducted Children (FAC) in vocational training institutes for rehabilitation and vocation skills. UNICEF funded the programme and Light Vocational Institute – over 100 placed.
– Referral of abandoned infants whose mothers have died when still breastfeeding to Ngetta babies home.
– St. Francis Abonyotingere Orphanage is priority educational support to orphans.
– Distribution of copies of children statute to local leaders.
– Pathfinder International as a TSO that we work with on OVC programme
– Working in collaboration with Fredies Rehabilitation & Disable Centre where children are kept for a period of 2 weeks before reintegration
Apart from the above organizations it works also closely together with especially the Department of Education, police and court.
– Availability of established staff at district headquarters and sub-county levels.
– Availability of transport (vehicle and motorcycles)
– Regular meetings with the Chief Administrative Officer and all heads of departments/sections.
– Financial support from the district for subsistence allowances.
– Networking with stakeholders
– Many Agencies ready to work and promote issues concerning children
– No provision for monthly imprest for office running and other funding to the sector by the District.
– Lack of materials and financial support to the destitute and orphans.
– Unavailability of communication system, e.g. telephone.
– Privacy for clients not suitable.
– No toilet and water system for staff.
– Support for implementation of the children statute from donors, e.g. NCC not forthcoming.
– Inadequate staff.
– Political will from the district in supporting children activities.
– Availability of Pearl vehicle.
– Frequent attachment of fieldwork students/volunteers i.e. from universities and other tertiary institutions.
– Attending workshops organised by some NGO e.g. UNICEF, Save the Children (In Uganda) etc.
– Monitoring and support supervision offered by the district/central government.
– Many Agencies/NGOs in the District working for Child Care and Protection
– No release of funds from local revenue for implementing programmes.
– Office accommodation too small to cater for the services.
– Overwhelming problems and needs of the vulnerable children e.g. street children and other children affected by conflict.
– Lack of a remand home for young offenders.