Street children are children who work or live on the streets. They may live permanently on the streets with or without their families because they have no home. They may be children who work on the streets by doing errands or selling items. Street children may spend a lot of time in the streets, but sleep at home.
According to the European Federation for Street Children, “They are an extremely vulnerable group of children living in most severe situations well beyond the usual notion of poverty; they face a gross violation of their human rights, such as violence, sexual exploitation and abuses, chemical addictions and various other human right violations".
Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) asserts that “State parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.” Homelessness denies each one of those rights. According to an Inter-NGO Program on street children and youth, a street child is “any girl or boy who has not reached adulthood, for whom the street (in the widest sense of the word, including unoccupied dwellings, wasteland, etc.) has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, directed, and supervised by responsible adults.”
US AID has divided Street children into four categories:
- ‘Child of the streets': children who have no home but the streets, and no family support. They move from place to place, living in shelters and abandoned buildings.
- ‘Child on the street': children who visit their families regularly and might even return every night to sleep at home, but spends most days and some nights on the street because of poverty, overcrowding, child sexual abuse or physical abuse at home.
- Part of a street family: these children live on sidewalks or city squares with the rest of their families. They may be displaced due to poverty, wars, or natural disasters. The families often live a nomadic life, carrying their possessions with them. Children in this case often work on the streets with other members of their families.