Perceptions of street-connected children can be very negative

Street-connected children are often seen as either ‘victims’ or ‘criminals’, including by adults who might be trying to help them. These attitudes can lead to children being removed from the streets at any cost, to save either themselves or those around them.

This can result in children being detained in juvenile justice centres or badly run institutions, which may be even more dangerous than the streets.

We see street-connected children differently

At StreetInvest we see these children as individuals with their own unique story. Some are driven from their homes by violence, neglect or poverty. Others are drawn to the streets by the promise of a better life. For some the street is their workplace; others their playground; others their home. 

What street-connected children do share are common experiences of sexual and physical abuse, being excluded from their communities and denied their basic rights. Things that no child should ever have to face. Because of their experiences these children can find it hard to trust adults, even those who want to help them.

Strength, resilience and agency

Despite their difficult lives, we know that street-connected children are some of the strongest, most capable and resilient young people you could ever meet. We trust in these children to make positive changes in their lives.

But we also know that they cannot do it alone. Which is why our vision is for every street child to have access to a trustworthy adult to support them.

How we define street-connected children

The term 'street-connected children' is used to comprise: 

“Children who depend on the streets to live and / or work, whether alone, with peers or with family and a wider population of children who have formed strong connections with public spaces and for whom the street plays a vital role in their everyday lives and identity.”