It’s not overkilling to assume that children with no homes have been through more hardships than most adults. Whereas some street children are victims of various types of abuse that tremendously impact their mental health, other children’s parents particularly those who have low income need to look for a job or serve time in prison. It may seem as if all of their problems get resolved as soon as children go into the foster care system and get three meals a day, but the reality is that families experiencing homelessness are not that easy. It is not easy at all having to experience domestic violence, having no access to education, and having no safe place to reside.
Addressing Issues Of Homeless Kids
Even in recent years, the foster system surely has no qualms about taking street children at any time. Despite that, the succession of events that led to the status of these street children being on the streets and without permanent housing, there was still – for lack of a better word – appropriate for kid age. A child who did experience homelessness – also called child homelessness – may end up in life having trauma, depression, increased levels of aggression, inability to trust others, or all of the above.
…the county of Orange receives over 2000 calls a month for suspected child abuse. At any given time there are approximately 2,700 children who are in out-of-home care. — Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W.
- Children Lose Homes Because Of Domestic Violence – The wrongdoings that people can commit against street children, including adults and young people, are so diverse. The most obvious ones include sexual abuse, substance abuse, torture, human trafficking, physical abuse, domestic violence, and other adverse childhood experiences. But then again, it is also brutal to let children see their father beat up their mother or become an accessory to a crime. It is so hurtful to accept that children are deprived of the stable housing that every child should have. How many children go through child homelessness every year? Do people even recognize their presence in their own communities? Do we as citizens try to make a difference in these children’s lives?
Homeless families suffer a lot
The children who have had such experiences of child homelessness in the past may wind up as criminals themselves because of being on the streets. Or these children may have zero self-confidence all their lives and negative mental health and eventually go down with depression if a therapist doesn’t get through to them immediately. These children suffer a lot of mental, emotional, physical, and social violence just because it is all rooted in not having a loving home. They go through their lives without any financial or emotional support involved. They will definitely need to be provided with therapeutic interventions for their healing. Perhaps funding for programs such as affordable housing or emergency shelters should be provided for by the legislative department in the government.
- The Effects Of Poverty On Low Income or Poor Households – Many of the children and young people who need fostering also come from homeless families that can’t provide even their fundamental needs. Rather than having three meals a day, for instance, these children can only get one. These children do not have the privilege of having support services, might end up being on the streets, and may not go to school regularly because children prefer to do odd jobs to earn money than hone their intellect. Other children who are going through family homelessness and may need mental health care cannot see a psychiatrist too as their parents have low income or have employment problems, they have no medical insurance for support services to cover the fees.
Regardless of the scenarios, these children can relate to, offering child counseling may enable them to use poverty as a motivation to change their fate.
Nearly one in three of these children and young people have significant psychiatric problems and other mental health issues during their time in foster care—especially those related to trauma and neglect that brought them into the system (McMillen JC et al, J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2005;44(1):88– 95). — Glen R. Elliott, MD, PhD
- Parents Abandoning Their Children- An underlying reason why there are children who end up experiencing youth homelessness is that their parents abandoned them for good – no one to love them, no guidance, no shelter, no safe place, nothing at all. Children weren’t physically hurt, yet these young people got left on the street, with a non-caring guardian, or at home by themselves. They carry with them the trauma of not having security for most of their lives. They struggle to survive with their mental health at risk.
Counseling is necessary at this point as well since these children may assume that they’re not meant to feel cared for and loved. Worse, children may desert their future families too, thinking that it’s normal.
- Experiencing Bullying and Harassment – In not-so-rare cases, children who are already in the system may experience harassment whenever they go to school. Some children tend to pick on their ill-fated classmates, especially once they find out that they are in foster care.
Although it is hard to predict if and when it will happen, speaking with a child counselor or having access to mental health and supportive services about this mixed form of abuse can keep the risk of further bullying at a lower level. This also helps their transition period become easier growing up. Again, providing them with transitional housing, urban development, and getting support in terms of education would be a big help, regardless of the age group they are in.
The best foster and adoptive parents know that helping a child involves more than just “wanting to”—it involves sticking in there when times get rough. — Carmen Sample, MSW, LSW, CAC I
In Summary About The Street Children
In the end, youth counseling sessions help street children overcome their past so that they can dream of a bright future. Street children may not believe that the latter is possible if hatred, guilt, resentment, and violence still fill their hearts and minds. If they are hesitant to go to therapy, they can always find sites on the web that provide online services.
With counseling, a child with no home will be given a chance to have a symbolic place of love, care, kindness, and understanding. These will guide them to have a home in their heart and will help them build their dreams – and probably a physical home too.
FAQs On Street Children
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