Authors: Murray LK, Singh NS, Surkan PJ, Semrau K, Bass J, Bolton P
Abstract: Street children, or children who live and/or spend time on the streets, are a vulnerable group of considerable concern to the global public health community. This paper describes the results of two linked qualitative studies conducted with children living or spending time on the street and in orphanages in and around urban areas in the Republic of Georgia between 2005 and 2006. The studies examined perceived causes of children going to the street, as well as indicators of healthy functioning and psychosocial problems among these children. Results on causes indicated a range of “push” factors leading children to the street and “pull” factors that keep children living on the street. Findings also showed a range of internalizing and externalizing mental health symptoms among children on the street and within orphanages. Some differences in responses were found between children living on the street and in institutions. It is important to understand the perspectives of these vulnerable populations to guide decisions on appropriate interventions that address their primary problems.
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