Psicologia & Sociedade
On-line version ISSN 1807-0310
PALUDO, Simone dos Santos and KOLLER, Silvia Helena. Every child has family: a child in street situation too. Psicol. Soc. [online]. 2008, vol.20, n.1, pp. 42-52. ISSN 1807-0310. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-71822008000100005.
The study aims to describe the family characteristics of street situation youths from the perception of these youngsters. Individual and qualitative semi-structured interviews with seventeen youths, aged between 11 and 16 years (M=14,05; DP=1,24), of both sexes, were conducted. It was an opportunity for understanding the dynamic interplay of risk factors that move youngsters to street life. First, the fact of being on the street does not imply the absence of a family. Children and adolescents enrolled in the study had ties with their families, even when they perceive it as a very fragile one. Only five participants would go back home every day. The participants described a variety of family configurations. Remarriage was pointed out by 41% and 35% mentioned a monoparental family configuration, led by a woman. Women who take care of the household are of great importance in this population's family structure. In contrast, 58% did not know who their fathers are. The number of siblings varied between one and 12 (M=5,69; DP=3,07). The majority of parents were unemployed or involved in informal labor. In order to supplement the family income many children start to work on the streets. Violence, poverty, adversity, associated with social, affective, and economical problems seems to play an important and dynamic role in shaping families characteristics of street youths. It is necessary to offer opportunities to promote resilience for these families. Women had an essential role in family care, and may be a powerful link for development.
Keywords : Families; street situation; vulnerability.