Building a Europe for and with children

Violence in the community - street children
... visible, invisible, vulnerable

Every city in Europe has street children. They are visible - they live and work in the streets - yet there is no reliable data regarding their numbers, their identity, making it extremely hard for authorities to ensure that they receive vital health care or education and are kept safe from harm. They are also  invisible because many people choose to ignore these children who are the physical embodiments of the worst kind of failure in our societies. The problem is global and it is escalating - brought on by poverty, family disintegration, abuse, abandonment, neglect and social unrest. Street children are vulnerable. Prostitution, trafficking, crime, drugs, gang violence, even police violence - all of these are real risks for many, already reality for others.
The term "street children" is used as a quickly-understood designation, without intention of stigmatising, labeling or victimising.

"Building a Europe for and with children" and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe -joint work on street children

The objective of the joint project is to examine what is currently being done at local level throughout Europe to help street children, identify good practices and their transferability and ultimately draw up a series of recommendations aimed at local representatives.
Working closely with the NGO The European Foundation for Street Children Worldwide, there will be a series of field visits to cities where municipal authorities have set up innovative and effective initiatives, which are transferable. 
The field visits will be completed by October 2007 and each visit will result in a case study on the main elements of the initiative: The case study will include:
basic statistics - size and nature of the problem
root causes (socio-economic factors)
specific measures and actions undertaken to address the issue by local authorities, such as preventive policies, reintegration/rehabilitation programmes, etc.
any partners involved
lessons learned - achievements and inadequacies of the initiative.
The case studies should be completed by November 2007. They should provide input for a Congress report (a comparative approach to the case studies and conclusions drawn from the overview) and recommendations to be presented at the 2008 plenary session for debate and adoption.

Points of view
Speech by the Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio on 27 March 2007 at the Congress debate on street children
Speech by Irmeli Henttonen, Committee of Social Cohesion, 27 March 2007 at the Congress debate on street children
Legal texts
Recommendation 253 (2008) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities on the social reintegration of children living and/working on the streets