• Users Online: 1528
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 88-90

Strategies to ensure the welfare of street children


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission22-Jun-2014
Date of Decision09-Dec-2014
Date of Acceptance13-Jan-2015
Date of Web Publication29-Apr-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1011-4564.156025

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 

Street children refer to a vulnerable section of children who lives on the street in the absence of any guidance of a responsible person, to ensure their own or their family's survival. Multiple determinants have been ascertained in the causation of the menace of street children. In order to address the challenges faced by street children, there is an indispensable need to develop a comprehensive strategy by involving all the concerned stakeholders. To conclude, to counter the menace of street children, there is a definite need to understand the role of heterogeneous determinants that push children towards street life, so that the welfare needs of street children can be safeguarded and the problem can be addressed at the grass root level.

Keywords: Street children, abuse, global, mental health


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strategies to ensure the welfare of street children. J Med Sci 2015;35:88-90

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strategies to ensure the welfare of street children. J Med Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Oct 19];35:88-90. Available from: http://www.jmedscindmc.com/text.asp?2015/35/2/88/156025


  Introduction Top


Street children refer to a vulnerable section of children who lives on the street in the absence of any guidance of a responsible person, to ensure their own or their family's survival. [1],[2] In other words, street children refer to those boys and girls, aged under 18 years, for whom "the street" (including unoccupied dwellings and wasteland) has become a home and/or their source of survival, and who are left unsupervised. [3] The global trends reflect that around 100-150 million children are currently either living or working on the streets and this number is further increasing. [1],[3],[4] The existence of street children is very much prevalent in densely populated urban hubs of developing or economically unstable regions, such as countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. [2],[3] In general, street children are devoid of healthy food, clean drinking water, shelter, health care services, toilets and bath facilities, and parental protection. [2],[3],[4],[5],[6] The situation becomes further dim for children who live in settings where there is no/minimal support framework of the government and thus exposed to multiple challenges. [5],[7] Recognizing the global presence, extensive burden, susceptibility to hazards of different nature, and lifelong impression of those incidences on their lives, the policy makers have identified street children as an endangered section of the society. [8]


  Potential Risk Factors Top


Broadly, the potential risk factors have been classified on the basis of behavior theory into five interdependent subsystems namely:

  1. Micro subsystem - This deals with family, schools, neighborhood, or even childcare institutions. Some of these adversities include poverty, hunger, abusive family life, degradation, violence, orphaned situation, educational status of guardians, child labor at family level, lack of care, negative attitude of the employers, and rigid policies in the child placement centers, etc.;
  2. Meso subsystem - This system considers interactions between several microsystems in which individuals shift between various roles as a result of moving between one microsystem to the other (viz., school, the neighborhood, daycare centers, peers, doctors, religious institutions and the family). Issues like divorces, marital problems, substance abuse, child neglect and abuse, ill health and sometimes the death of a parent, most of which are related with lower socioeconomic status, unemployment, poor housing and poverty;
  3. Exo subsystem - This system deals with the social settings (viz., structure of the larger community, the community's resources, the workplace, schooling, the education board, community health organizations and welfare services, legal services, neighbors, friends of the family, mass media, etc.), without considering the individual;
  4. Macro subsystem - This system includes the government, policies, laws and customs of society, which generally determine the overall development of the children; and
  5. Chrono subsystem - The chronosystem deals with the conditions and changes in individuals and their environments over time. It explores the dimension of time as it relates to the child's development. [1],[3],[4],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17]



  Risk Associated with Street Children Top


Childhood has been acknowledged a special phase in the life of an individual, any adverse exposure during this period cast negative impact on the health status. [2] In general, street children are often exposed to all types of abuse; [12] early adoption of high-risk behavior (such as substance abuse, early sexuality, etc.); [1],[2],[13],[18] health problems (viz., skin infections, dental caries, malnutrition, sexually transmitted infections, etc.); [18],[19] delayed milestones; [20] adolescent pregnancy; [2] emotional problems; [21] psychiatric conditions; [8] and child labor/trafficking. [2],[13]


  Recognized Challenges Top


Although, problem of street children, mainly results because of the existing shortcomings in the public health sector, the concern of street children is further complicated by minimal sensitization of the health workers regarding the needs of children with special needs; [22] poor awareness among children about importance of personal hygiene or safe sexual practices; [19] minimal contribution of nongovernmental agencies; [21] and placement centers related concerns (limited number, poor attitude of the employees, and no mechanism to supervise the functioning). [15],[16]


  Recommended Measures Top


In order to address the above mentioned challenges, there is an indispensable need to develop a comprehensive strategy by involving all the concerned stakeholders. [18] This strategy should essentially comprise of elements like measures to sensitize the respective authorities to the needs of street children; [13] orienting policemen/health workers/society to assist these children; [14],[22] ensuring powerful familial bonds by maintaining a nurturing environment; [1],[3],[8] encouraging enrollment of the children in schools; [1],[8] motivating people to adopt contraceptive measures; [11] addressing issues of child placement clinics; [15],[16] ensuring strict action against the offenders; [14] fostering linkages with nongovernmental agencies to expand the range of the services; [21] and encouraging further research to identify different community-based solutions to sort out the problems of street children. [7],[8]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, to counter the menace of street children, there is a definite need to understand the role of heterogeneous determinants that push children towards street life, so that the welfare needs of street children can be safeguarded and the problem can be addressed at the grass root level.

 
  References Top

1.
Moura YG, Sanchez ZM, Opaleye ES, Neiva-Silva L, Koller SH, Noto AR. Drug use among street children and adolescents: What helps? Cad Saude Publica 2012;28:1371-80.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Roncevic N, Stojadinovic A, Batrnek-Antonic D. Street children. Srp Arh Celok Lek 2013;141:835-41.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
UNICEF. The State of the World's Children 2014 in Numbers: Every Child Counts. Revealing Disparities, Advancing Children's Rights; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Rachlis BS, Wood E, Zhang R, Montaner JS, Kerr T. High rates of homelessness among a cohort of street-involved youth. Health Place 2009;15:10-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Olley BO. Social and health behaviors in youth of the streets of Ibadan, Nigeria. Child Abuse Negl 2006;30:271-82.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Abdelgalil S, Gurgel RG, Theobald S, Cuevas LE. Household and family characteristics of street children in Aracaju, Brazil. Arch Dis Child 2004;89:817-20.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Embleton L, Atwoli L, Ayuku D, Braitstein P. The journey of addiction: Barriers to and facilitators of drug use cessation among street children and youths in Western Kenya. PLoS One 2013;8:e53435.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Taib NI, Ahmad A. Psychiatric morbidity among street children in duhok. Clin Med Insights Pediatr 2014;8: 11-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Khan S, Hesketh T. Deteriorating situation for street children in Pakistan: A consequence of war. Arch Dis Child 2010;95:655-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Sayem AM, Kidd SA. The levels and patterns of resilience among male street children in Dhaka City. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2013;25:39-45.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Abdullah MA, Basharat Z, Lodhi O, Wazir MH, Khan HT, Sattar NY, et al. A qualitative exploration of Pakistan's street children, as a consequence of the poverty-disease cycle. Infect Dis Poverty 2014;3:11.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Mathur M, Rathore P, Mathur M. Incidence, type and intensity of abuse in street children in India. Child Abuse Negl 2009;33:907-13.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Nada KH, Suliman el DA. Violence, abuse, alcohol and drug use, and sexual behaviors in street children of Greater Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. AIDS 2010;24 Suppl 2:S39-44.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Ribeiro MO. Street children and their relationship with the police. Int Nurs Rev 2008;55:89-96.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Leyka MB, Baum MB. Taking charge of street children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: An ethical alternative. J Int Bioethique 2009;20:119-29, 68.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Gurung AS. Why do the street children of Kathmandu do not want to live in rehabilitation homes? J Med Assoc Thai 2013;96 Suppl 5:S146-52.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Marrengulla ML. Addressing socio-cultural animation as community based social work with street children in Maputo, Mozambique; 2010. Eur J Soc Work 2012;15:285-92.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Thapa K, Ghatane S, Rimal SP. Health problems among the street children of Dharan municipality. Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ) 2009;7:272-9.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Mthembu S, Ndateba I. Exploration of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of street children on the prevention of HIV and AIDS in the Huye district, Rwanda. East Afr J Public Health 2012;9:74-9.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Greksa LP, Rie N, Islam AB, Maki U, Omori K. Growth and health status of street children in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Am J Hum Biol 2007;19:51-60.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Kerfoot M, Koshyl V, Roganov O, Mikhailichenko K, Gorbova I, Pottage D. The health and well-being of neglected, abused and exploited children: The Kyiv Street Children Project. Child Abuse Negl 2007;31: 27-37.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Legrand S, Pichon C. On the road to hope with street children in Madagascar. Rev Infirm 2012;183:35-7.  Back to cited text no. 22
    




 

Top
 
 
  Search
 
Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

 
  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Potential Risk F...
Risk Associated ...
Recognized Chall...
Recommended Measures
Conclusion
References

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed2016    
    Printed28    
    Emailed2    
    PDF Downloaded133    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


[TAG2]
[TAG3]
[TAG4]