RETRAK Technical Briefing: Family Reintegration for Children Living on the Streets

Kristen Smith & Joanna Wakia

Whilst international organizations and countries are acknowledging the challenges street children face, there is still a belief that these children are difficult to work with and cannot be reintegrated into a family setting. Retrak’s experience shows that this is not the case: over one thousand children have been returned to the care of family members through Retrak’s work in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda through the dedication of time, resources and a skilled social workforce.

Retrak’s technical brief on family reintegration for children living on the streets, acknowledges the difficulties which street children face at home and on the streets. But it also demonstrates that successful family reintegration is possible for street children when there is a focus on the individual child, building positive attachments with care-givers, strengthening families capabilities and involving the wider community. Retrak encourages governments, donors and civil society to make family reintegration the first priority for street children and to invest in promoting a positive legal and policy environment, which empahsises family preservation and family integration. It is also imperative to build a skilled social welfare workforce to ensure zero children are forced to live on the streets.