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Article Published In Vol.4 (Sept-Oct-2016)

The Social Status of Street Children in Kakamega Central Sub-County, Kenya

Author : Lusire G.Lumumba (Msc), Dr N. Nyandiko (PhD) and Dr R.Simiyu (PhD)

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The problem of street children is a worldwide social concern. There is virtually no city in the world without the presence of street children. The study problem was the apparent lack of a comprehensive evaluation that critically analyzes the social status of street children which make them vulnerable in street life of Kakamega Central sub-county, Kenya. The Study objective was to establish the social status of street children in Kakamega Central sub-county, Kenya. This study was guided by the Social learning theory by A. Bandura and the Ecological theory by U. Bronfebrenner. Descriptive research design was employed in the study to enable the examination of the variables. Study population included 220 street children in closed and open rehabilitation systems, 30 Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations rehabilitation staff, 10 social workers, 8 Governmental officers, 5 counselors and 21 businessmen. Primary and secondary data were used. Primary data collection utilized questionnaires, interview guides, observation checklists and Focus Group Discussion. Cluster and snow-ball sampling were used to sample street children. Census and purposive sampling were used to sample rehabilitation stakeholders. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics specifically frequencies, percentages and means. Qualitative data analysis and interpretation utilized narrative analysis. Data was displayed in form of graphs, charts and tables. With regard to social status of street children, this research established that majority (43.6 %) of street children are in the age group 11-15 years. Male Street children were 78.2% compared to female 21.2 % .Those who had spend 1-3 years in street life were 41.8 %. Step mother/father harassment 25.5% and parent’s death 18.2 % were popular reasons for children joining street life. Some street children 27.6 % suffer from malaria whereas 63.6 % dropped school in primary. Economically 21.8% of street children were involved in begging while 41.8% collect scraps. Glue (mbiere) was most abused drug by 38.2 % whereas 60 % have been arrested when in street life and 10.9 % were harassed and remanded for months. Study findings revealed that street children do not enjoy due legal processes when they are in conflict with the law thus they are vulnerable and their social status development is at stake in street life. The study therefore recommends that street children’s social status should be improved by; establishing of a listening platform for stakeholders and street children’s views, establishment of a comprehensive rehabilitation and dropping centre for street children and improvement in socio-vocational skills development so as to make them self independent.

Keywords: Street children, Social status and Rehabilitation

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