Street Children are just children, but traumatised, chronically neglected, physically and mentally abused and exploited children. They can be helped and given a future away from the street.
These are not naughty children, criminals, nor dangerous individuals. Many Street children do exhibit behavioural problems, aggression and substance abuse issues, but these are coping mechanisms of children who are in a great deal of psychological pain because Street Children are traumatised, children, abandoned, orphaned, chronically neglected, physically, sexually and mentally abused children, children who are exploited by others to beg, for commercial exploitation and other things.
Every street child we know always wants to be back with his family, it’s just that they can’t because of the family situation or because being vulnerable they are being exploited and used by others.
Legally In Need Of Care And Protection
The Children’s act defines any child living, working or begging on the street as a child in need of care and protection. Beyond the law, protection and care for children is not for a few but something we all can do. We can all contribute and make a difference.
• Build positive relationships with children on the street, they need our care , concern and protection.
• Gently encourage such children to return home or to go to the Homestead Intake Shelter.
• Do not ignore them, report such children to your nearest police station or to your local Department of Social Development office. By law DSD and SAPS must respond to any children living, working or begging on the street. Follow up, by law anyone may fill out a form 22 to report a child living, working or begging on the street to DSD. By law church ministers, teachers and the like MUST report such children.
• Do not move or take these children home, to your home, or to The Homestead. Only designated social workers and the police may remove a child without parental consent. The Homestead can only accept a child if they self-refer or from a police officer or a designated social worker with the correct paperwork.
• Help us to give children the care, education and development they deserve. Support professional and comprehensive intervention services for street children , support The Homestead.
The Homestead needs your help to identify children living, begging or working on the streets of Cape Town. This will help us to have a better idea of where our services are needed, ensure that all children on the streets of Cape Town are not ignored but get the help they deserve, and help the Homestead to improve its services to children on the street. The Homestead outreach workers currently cover central Cape Town, Woodstock to OBS, Camps Bay to Sea-point, Manenberg, Valhalla Park and Khayelitsha, but you can still report children in other areas of Cape Town as we will endeavor to pass this information on to statutory services or to other organisations who might work be working in that area. Please note that a street child means a child aged between 7 and 17
Report any child living, working or begging on the street to us:
THE HOMESTEAD (PROJECTS FOR STREET CHILDREN):
NPO: 003-217 PBO 18/11/13/1038
Telephone 0/h: 021 4199763
Postal Address: PO BOX 21538, Kloof Street, 8001
Any “child living, working or begging on the street” is, by South African law, a child in need of care and protection “. No child should therefore be on the street. The truth is however that the support children get on the street keeps them on the street and vulnerable to substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, as well as exploitation from drug dealers, older street youth, paedophiles, criminal elements, etc.
GIVING TO CHILDREN WHO BEG KEEPS CHILDREN ON THE STREET
No child need live on the streets of Cape Town, The Homestead has the therapeutic residential care and development programmes, in Woodstock and in Khayelitsha, that children need for a healthy life away from the street . The Homestead never turns a child away. Unfortunately those who insist on giving to children who beg keeps these children out of care, keeps them locked on the street and supports their drug abuse. By giving to children who beg you affirm street life as the right choice, even worse you tell the child that those who exploit and abuse them on the street are doing the right thing.
GIVING TO CHILDREN WHO BEG DESTROYS FAMILIES, IT DRAWS CHILDREN ONTO THE STREET.
Giving to children who beg encourages vulnerable children to leave home, their school and to move onto the street. Giving to children who beg also encourages adults to traffic vulnerable children onto the street so the children can beg on their behalf. Giving to children who beg undermines the family preservation, school support, poverty relief and development programmes that The Homestead has for vulnerable children in Valhalla Park, Manenberg, Woodstock and Khayelitsha.
Street children in Cape Town are often misunderstood. Nurtured ignorance often creates space for inaccurate assumptions. What we don’t know can shape our attitude, sometimes in a way that doesn’t help us or the street children. The solution for this is developing a better understanding of their world and challenges the face. A growing knowledge of who they are and their world can help us better come alongside them in notable and meaningful ways. Here are three things you need to know about street children.