Street Children

Things to know

  1. UNICEF has defined three types of street children – street living, street working and children of street living families. The first category comprises of the children who live alone on the streets, the second category includes children who spend most of their time working on streets to provide income for their families or themselves and the last category includes children who live with their families on street.
  2. Street children are the most vulnerable group amongst children.
  3. It is estimated that mostly street children are concentrated in metros and other cities.
  4. UNICEF has estimated that approximately 11 million street children live in India and 100,000 in Delhi alone (Railway India).

Street gangs

  1. Gang leaders usually recruit the new children to the street gangs. These may be older street children or adults.
  2. The children may be taught to pickpocket and the girls may be targeted by the pimps. The children are also vulnerable to be coerced into drug peddling and other organized crime.
  3. The children in the gang are exposed to sexual and physical exploitation.
  4. Gang rivalry is common where the children of a certain gang are not allowed to visit the areas demarcated for other gangs.
  5. These gangs comprises migrant and local street children.

Relevant government initiatives

Integrated program for street children was introduced in May 2007 and was valid up to December 2008. The aim of the program was to prevent children from living a life on the streets. The program focused on provision of shelter, nutrition, health care, sanitation and hygiene, safe drinking water, education and recreational facilities and protection against abuse and exploitation to destitute and neglected street children.

"Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme for the children of working mother" has been launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development providing crèche services for children between age group 0 to 6 years. The services include emergency medicines, supplementary nutrition etc.

What should I do when I see a street child?

  1. Contact the juvenile/child welfare officer in the local police station or Special Juvenile Police Unit (previously known as JAPU).
  2. Contact child line on1098, a toll free 24x7 working and provide details about the child, employer and place for child line to intervene or report a child online by providing details on
  3. The concerned person should produce the child before the Child Welfare Committee.

Relevant legislations

  1. Juvenile Justice Act


  1. Ministry of Women and Child Development, "National Report on World Fit for Children" Ministry of Women and Child Development , 2007