RETRAK Technical Brief: Helping Street Children Return Home
The report looks at the issue of helping children return home from the streets in several African cities. The main point of the report is that "...despite current perceptions of the difficulties of working with street children, several organisations have been able to show that reuniting street children with their familes is possible & efforts to do so have been met with great success."
The street children with whom Retrak work are marginalised, abused and stigmatised. It is often assumed that they are the badly behaved children who have run away from home. This promotes the belief that these children are difficult to work with and that they cannot be reintegrated into a family setting.
Therefore these children are in danger of missing out on the opportunity to grow and develop in a healthy family environment unless the global community intentionally includes them in the growing international focus on family preservation, reintegration and alternative care. Retrak’s technical brief on family reintegration for children living on the streets, acknowledges the difficulties which street children face at home and on the streets. But it also demonstrates that successful family reintegration is possible for street children when there is a focus on the individual child, building positive attachments with care-givers, strengthening families capabilities and involving the wider community.
Retrak encourages governments, donors and civil society to make family reintegration the first priority for street children and to invest in promoting a positive legal and policy environment, which empahsises family preservation and family integration. It is also imperative to build a skilled social welfare workforce to ensure zero children are forced to live on the streets.