A child in a “street situation” is not a delinquent!

The dire consequences of approaches considering a street-connected child as a victim to “save” or as a delinquent, especially when these approaches are violent, cannot be overemphasized.

As underlined in the General comment on children in street situations, adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in June 2017, long-term global strategies for children in street situations must be based on:

  • “a holistic (…) approach (…) addressing both prevention and response in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child”
  • “a child rights approach, whereby the child is respected as a rights holder and decisions are often made with the child

A child rights approach, which is compared to two other approaches often implemented:

  • “a welfare approach involving the “rescue” of children perceived to be an object or victim from the street and whereby decisions are made for the child without serious consideration for her or his views (…)
  • a repressive approach, whereby the child is perceived to be a delinquent.”

A social response to a social issue

The causes that push children on the streets are also underlined in the text of the UN Committee:

Inequalities based on economic status, race and gender are among the structural causes of the emergence and exclusion of children in street situations. These are exacerbated by material poverty, inadequate social protection, poorly targeted investment, corruption and fiscal (tax and expenditure) policies that reduce or eliminate the ability of poorer people to move out of poverty.”

The street situation should no longer be seen as a fatality that should only lead to a charitable response, but to consider the question of street children as a social issue that requires a social response. And that says social says politics.

Also on our website:

Learn more:
  • Call to contributions from the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the submitted contributions from civil society
  • Written submission (PDF 113 KB) for the General Comment on children in street situations from Dynamo International – Street Workers Network, April 2016
  • Report (PDF in French, 1 MB) on the European consultation on children and young people in street situations organised by Dynamo International in partnership with the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) in Bruxelles on 18-19 avril 2016
  • The General comment No 21 on children in street situations : English (PDF 304 KbB), French (PDF 508 KB), Spanish (PDF 395 KB), Arabic (PDF 582 KB) and Chinese (PDF 699 KbB)
  • The different language versions of General comment No. 21 on children in street situations online

A child in a “street situation” is not a delinquent!