In 1996, the NGO Children and Environment, with the assistance of UNICEF, prepared a project on "Statistical Evaluation of the Number of Street Children in Tbilisi and Methods for their Registration". According to the data provided by this project, about 900 children were registered as children with anti-social behavior; most of them were either begging or peddling to earn living. Today, the picture has changed; these children not only trade, but they steal, become prostitutes, substance and alcohol abusers.
Project envisaged identification of number of street children in the selected localities, their categorization and situation analysis as well as creation of information bank, formation and implementation of new, reliable forms for the registration.
1,322 children have been interviewed and registered through a specially-designed questionnaire and registration form in 15 localities throughout the country. Interviewees were selected by those who volunteered to participate.
Findings and Conclusions:
64% out of the 1,322 were girls and 46% were boys. 59.2% (783) of studied children were registered in different institutions but most of them continued their activities in the streets. 10.5% of registered children were orphans, 3.32 % did not have a mother and 14.2% did not have a father. 79% (1,046) of studied children were school-aged and more then 80% of them expressed a desire to continue studying or learn some crafts and skills. 276 children are below school age.
Most of the interviewees (about 80%) name social and financial difficulties as main reasons for their going out into the streets. They express a wish to return to their families provided that the conditions improve. There are cases when the children are forced by their family members (parents, grandparents, elder siblings) to go out and earn money in any way.
The research showed that mothers of 486 children and fathers of 345 children are unemployed; mothers of 67 children and fathers of 9 children are beggars; mothers of 127 and fathers of 43 children do petty trading in the streets. Whereabouts of mothers of 39 and fathers of 228 are unknown to their children. Many children are begging or going around together with their parents. Some of the children say that the reason for their tramping is adventure and have no wish to go back home.
It is also interesting that the work started in late fall and continued through winter time. Probability for the children to be in the streets during this period is relatively small compared to spring, when the school holidays start and the weather is more convenient to work. People in almost all regions mentioned it.
It was concluded that there is a lack of coordination among governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with street children. Lack of capacity was also identified as one of the problems. There is a need for social workers specializing in this particular profile. It was recommended to improve the child registration system and carry out the measures of similar character on a regular basis.
PDF files require Acrobat Reader.
Child Protection - Child Labout