The increasing number of street children over the 14 years since CAS has been working in Accra makes it difficult to ignore the growing phenomenon. In 1990, research by the University of Ghana suggests there were about 4,000 street children in Accra. Six years later CAS conducted a head count and the number was closer to 10,400 children. An alarming increase of more that 6,000 children. In 2003 CAS conducted another headcount and believed the number to be 15,300.
And the numbers continue to rise. The latest head count, conducted in 2006 in the selected areas of Tema and Ashaiman, proved the number of street children to be a horrifying 21,140. In addition to this, there were 7500 street mothers who were below the age of 20 and another 14,500 urban poor children. The latest census conducted in Accra in 2009, shown that the number has increased to over 35,000 plus. When the urban poor and those born on the street are included the figure will be 61,492(2009).
These statistics shown the alarming rise in the number of children who live, work and spend at least some of their time on the streets of Accra. These are the children that CAS strives to help.
WHY CHILDREN ARE IN THE STREETS OF OUR TOWNS AND CITIES.
CAS exists 20 years. During the past 20 years, CAS recorded a lot of data provided by the children. In addition, CAS conducted various researches and assisted others to carry out researches.
1. The Exodus report -1999
2. The Ghanaian street child – 2003
3. The state of the Ghanaian street child, CAS’ perspective- 2004
4. Together with The Department of Social Welfare, Ricerca, Said and CAS, the Census report -2011
In addition, many social surveys reports were written. Because of the 20th anniversary, CAS analysed 499 social survey reports from the period 1998 till December 2011.
These reports includes in-depth information on: family background, living conditions of the family, reasons of the problem and the recommendation by the social workers. You will understand that this information is confidential because it is describing of persons lives.
These reports are from 284 boys and 215 girls.
There are many reasons why street children are in the streets, but the results gives us a clear picture why they are in the streets. See newsletter 58.
1. 130 parents of the 499 children are divorced, but this was not for all of them the reason to be in the street.
2. 49 were born out of wedlock.
3. 106 lost a parent or both parents through death.
4. 154 parent(s) did not take care of the child. Neglect.
5. 10 were born on the street.
6. 1 was sexually abused.
7. 17 met violence at home
8. 34 were on the street through truancy.
9. 29 were on the street because the parents are extremely poor.
Most of the reasons why children are on the street are related to family break down or other family related issues.
CAS therefore is convinced that the teaching on family values should be increased as well as counseling for families who have problems.
Therefore, we dare to say that our Mission is accomplished within the context of the objectives that started CAS. CAS during the past 20 years assisted many individual children and in addition found answers to the questions asked.
1. Why are children in the streets?
2. Where do they come from?
3. And why can they not return to their home and parents?
But CAS will not be able to:
1. To solve the problems in the families.
2. CAS will not be able to prevent more from children coming to the street.
3. CAS will not be able to re-integrate children back in their families.
We are happy that research period has been completed. We are now ready to increase the awareness program and we are also ready to teach others how to assist and support children who are out of school and in the street.