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Data-Base and Population Estimation of Street Children/Ours to Protect Our Street Children

The literature survey indicates that there are differing estimates on the number of street children because estimates are made with no clear indication of the types of children being covered and counted. A clear identification of the segment of street children targetted was made prior to the start of the enumeration. Cognizant of the questions and issues raised about the label ‘street children,’ this study specifically focused on the ‘highly visible children on the streets,’ otherwise known as the ‘target priority group’ of street children needing utmost attention. Out of 246, 011 street children, 20 per cent are indicated to be ‘highly visible on the streets’, a group needing priority action. This segment of street children also comprises 1.61% of the urban young population aging 0-17 years. From the estimates made from the covered 22 cities, the national estimates for highly visible children on the streets in the country ranges from 45 ,000 (downside) to 50,000 (high side). Majority of the children covered in the study were located in barangays/areas outside of their place of residence. About 25% are residing in cities outside or different from the city where they were located, implying the importance of a metropolitan approach in addressing the problem on street children. Children stake out in different locations, and the predominant ones were streets (36.5%), market (8%) and worship/recreation areas (12.4%). In terms of visibility on the streets, children stay on the streets for an average of nine (9) hours within a day. The range of hours is from 4 hours to 24 hours; about 8% stay on the streets for the whole day and the greatest number of them are in Metro Manila. Based on the previous studies, one could surmise that the number of children who actually stay and live on the streets have increased at present (from the reported 5% of the previous studies to 8% of the present research). Extent of visibility on the streets is significantly explained by age, gender, participation in schooling, living arrangement, frequency of going home, assistance extended by street educators/workers and child’s knowledge of existence of organizations/ agencies providing assistance. The study recommended a review, examination and rethinking of the strategies adopted by ‘street-based’ interventions and programs given the findings that individuals extending assistance increases visibility and the amount of time spent by children on the streets. Since it serves as a ‘pull’ factor, some kind of a rethinking and redirecting of efforts is necessary. This research must be followed by a conduct of an assessment of the centers given the findings that children leave the centers because of problems related to management of the center and the child-service provider interaction. Focus must be made on the quality of services provided to the children, the strengths and the growth edges or limitations of the centers, the benefits and the outcomes of the services provided to the children housed in the centers. A systematic and well-organized information system must be established to come up with solid data about children in general. This is necessary for monitoring and tracking purposes notwithstanding benchmarking and program designing. A well-coordinated information system will be necessary. One step to do this is to assign an agency, preferably an independent entity, to coordinate this information system. An added dimension to the network will be the regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development with ties to the city or municipality level offices. Some kind of capacity building/upgrading, however, will be necessary notwithstanding the need to standardize the recording and the reporting system in these offices.


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