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Homeless Children - Research Paper Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Introduction There are about 100 million homeless children in the world today, with the number growing drastically, both in the developed and the developing countries. Majority of the homeless children are boys aged 10 to 14 years…
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Homeless Children

They are inadequately protected and are vulnerable to exploitation, victimization and their economic and civil rights are at a high risk of abuse. These children are continually neglected and abused especially due to the existing international indifferences to this problem. Homelessness denies the children their rights, according to the Article 27 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which declares that every child has a right to mental, physical, moral, spiritual and social development (Kanth, et al., 1-3). Homelessness is common in urban areas, domestic violence being one of the major causes. This forces women to move to the streets with their young children. The HIV and AIDS epidemic together with civil wars have led to increased number of street children in Africa because many children have been orphaned. Poverty is also another factor that has forced many families into streets, especially in the developing countries. In addition to this, effects on economic, political and social crises of a country also contribute to increased street children, because these effects are more severe on children than on adults (Vostanis and Cumella, 18-19). According to USAID, homeless children can be divided into four categories the first one being that of ‘A Child of the Streets’. These are children who move from place to place and have no homes or support from their families. The second category belongs to ‘A Child on the Street’. These children have homes and they regularly visit their families but spend most of their days in the streets due family issues like poverty and physical abuse at home. Then there is the category of those who are ‘Part of a Street Family’. These children live with the rest of their family members in the Streets because of displacement from their home areas. This may be due to such factors as poverty, domestic violence, natural disasters or war. The fourth category belongs to children ‘In institutionalized Care’. These are children who were previously homeless, but have been placed under the care of certain institutions – they are at risk of going back to the streets (Kanth, et al., 3). As Hart points out, homeless children usually have more needs and problems as compared to other housed children. Since they live in insecure places, problems related to development and physical health is common among them. This leads to developmental delay. They also experience emotional and behavioural difficulties like, eating problems, anxiety, reacting more intensely when upset, over-activity, depression, self-harm, sleep disturbance and aggression. Their academic performance is poor as a result of both the circumstances of their homelessness and poor cognitive development. Hart further explains the health status of these children being at risk, hence suffering from health problems like increased rates of respiratory infections, infectious diseases, chronic, anaemia, and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, and stunted growth due to poor nutrition. They are also exposed to poor environmental factors, which contribute much to their poor health. Lead poisoning and asthma are some of the greater risks exposed to these children and with very severe symptoms as compared to their peers. Developmental delays are common in the pre-school children with about 75% of the children under the age of five years having this problem and mostly in the areas of speech or impulsivity (Hart, 4-6). As a result of stressful events, mental disorders become ... Read More
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