In Kenya, street children are still considered to be illegal and are often discriminated against as though they are breaking the law. They are regularly treated with violence and contempt by state authorities and members of the public. Children are often arrested simply for being on the street and detained in remand before they are brought to the court or released back onto the street. Despite the 2001 Children’s Act treating vagrancy, loitering and truancy by children as an indicator of their need for care and protection, street children found in these situations are routinely exposed to police harassment and detention.
In certain areas in the country, there are local regulations and by-laws which penalise activities associated with living and spending time on the street. These laws further criminalise street children just for being visible on the street.
Many street children do not have a birth certificate or ID card and without one many face discrimination in their education and future job prospects. They are unable to sit for a secondary school exam or apply for a formal job.