A study into the role of family relational factors in the creation of a street child: a case study of Limuru division, Kenya
Ndirangu, Simon Kingori
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This research investigated the role of family relational factors in the creation of a street child. Its main objective was to determine how family relationships affect the child's behavioural process, leading to their running away from home. The child's point of view was used owing to the fact that his/her being in the street or at home is purely based on his/her subjective perception of his/her world. In Kenya only a few researches have been done on family relationships as a casual factor to the problem of street children. Some researchers have shown that the biggest population of street children is in the streets because of school related problems. Some others have shown that poverty is the main contributing factor. Home environment has been focused on in general. Generally researchers agree that home conditions are a cause to the street children problem. The researcher's main question was why? Why only one child in a family? Why in only a few families in a whole village of low income earners? What happens between the caregiver and the child and within the child facilitating experimentation into such a high risk? The researcher used a descriptive research design. Two samples of thirty five subjects and nineteen were used, all drawn from Limuru Town and its surrounding. The first group of nineteen comprised of street children in Limuru Town while the other one of thirty five comprised of children from low income families in villages surrounding Limuru town, in which many of Limuru street children are believed to have come from. They were subjected to an interview. The results indicated that relational factors amongst the family members are the root causes to life in the streets. That before a child left home they experienced psychological disturbances contemplated of leaving home and tried to cope with the situation. Conditions such as orphan hood, single parenthood, separation and divorce, poverty and unskilled parenting are facilitating factors that increase the probability of dysfunctional relational factors in a family. It is recommended that all in the community join hands in improving the life in families. Through good policies development and implementation the government can reduce such conditions and take a step in proper rehabilitation where past wounds are identified and healed and reunion with relatives is done.. Private practitioners and civil societies can give psycho-education as a way of counselling the community. In all these efforts professionals should be involved. The results would be useful in preparation of parenting skill, marriage enrichment seminars and courses, formulation of children and life enhancing policies as well as formulation of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, especially where reuniting the child and the family is required.