(Blog entry from an excellent blog on Street Children in Kiev, Ukraine, called Scenes from the Sidewalk)
Street children survive by their wits. They become very adept at assessing the world and situations around them. The children who have voluntarily left a home or orphanage, tend to be bright kids. They like to be challenged and are good at solving problems. After a long time living on the streets, chemical addictions and health issues tend to slow them down and they become less interested in life.
These children spend their days in a variety of ways, they avoid authority figures, forage for food, use glue or alcohol, get involved in criminal activity or hang out with other street kids. Some may work odd jobs or they may get involved in pick pocketing, begging or petty theft. Some get involved in more heavier criminal activity or in prostitution.
The longer a child lives on the streets, the more difficult it is for them to leave it. Living on the street becomes their way of life and they loose the ability to reason that they have any other choice in life. If they are picked up by the police and placed into an orphanage or rehabilitation home, they still choose to run away again because they have learned to love this "freedom."
(The boy in this photo grew up on the streets and cannot read or write.)