By Jeff Andrew Lule
KAMPALA - Poor parental care and negligence among parents has led to the high crime rate among children in communities, the assistant Probation Officer at Naguru Remand Home, Mary Kyomugisha, says.
“We get more children every day. Majority of them are here because their parents neglected them thus opting for street life.”
She disclosed this while receiving a Centenary Bank donation worth sh4.5m which included 140 mosquito nets, blankets, sugar, rice, sanitary pads, and soft drinks among other items at Naguru Remand Home in Kampala recently.
The home has 160 children.
Kyomugisha said many children are arrested for various offences they commit in their communities.
“They commit both capital and non-capital offences but most cases are minor. They are brought here for rehabilitation for two to three months and later released back home. The crime rate in the community is high and more children arrested. Others run away due to poor parental care,” she said.
One of victims at the remand home, a 16-year-old, confessed running away from his parents in Ssembabule when they tried to force him to marry.
He said: “My parents wanted me to marry which I didn’t want and decided to run away. I later got some work where I was framed by my boss for stealing. He took me to police which brought me at the remand home. But I am not a thief.”
He claims his boss framed him to avoid paying him.
The secretary general for National Council for Children (NCC), Martin Kiiza said research shows that many parents have little or no time at all for their children.
“Because of this, many children are influenced by peers and misled by modernity and are linked to new technologies like televisions, internet, and video games among others. Children get addicted to them and end up going with the world because parents have no time for them. Such things need to be limited and it is the parents to do that,” he said.
Kiiza also added that some parents, especially stepmothers, neglect children, thus becoming vulnerable. Even the environment in which children grow, he said, has greatly led to rampant moral degeneration among children.
“Chapter 59 of the Children’s Act, provides for parents to play their role on nurturing their children right from the family level which they have abandoned,” he noted.
NCC has already embarked on a nationwide campaign in schools and communities to increase awareness on good parenting.
Anselm Wadega, the executive director, African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) attributed the problem to poverty in many homes.
“Most parents are always busy looking for survival and have no time for their children. Other children run from their homes after being neglected or mistreated by their parents. They end up joining peers who mislead them,” he noted.
Naguru Remand Home rehabilitates children through psychosocial support, technical education and business skills training among others.
The principal human resource manager at Centenary Bank, Juliet Mukiibi said the donation is part of their corporate social responsibility to give back to the community.