Growing number of street children in Germany, report says

Growing number of street children in Germany, report says
Posted : Tue, 11 Mar 2008 15:54:00 GMT
Author : DPA

Berlin – Up to 20,000 children and juveniles are living on the streets of Germany, one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, the children’s relief group Terre des Hommes said Tuesday. Domestic violence, neglect or parental drug abuse are some of the reasons that lead to children running away and becoming homeless, according to a report prepared for the organization.

The report’s author, writer Uwe Britten, warned that street children were in danger of becoming outcasts in society and later passing on this status to their own children.

The study showed that not all those covered in the survey lived on the streets permanently. Some used this option as an escape when things at home become intolerable.

Many suffered from illness and had little prospect of obtaining regular employment, the study showed. About half received some form of help from relief projects.

Half of those living on the streets were under 18 and 3 per cent under 14. About one-third of those receiving help were girls.

Terre des Hommes said it had joined forces with 25 other relief organizations to form an Alliance for Street Children with the aim of pooling resources to get to grips with the problem.

While poverty is the main cause for social deprivation among young people, there are also cases of street children coming from wealthy backgrounds, according to Britten.

According to statistics released by the German Society for the Protection of Children, some 2.6 million children in Germany – one in six – live in poverty. Among children under 15, the percentage is one in four.

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