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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 921604, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/921604
Research Article

A Qualitative Study of Georgian Youth Who Are on the Street or Institutionalized

1Health Systems Program, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205-2179, USA
2Social and Behavioral Interventions Program, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205-2179, USA
3Department of International Health, Center for Global Health and Development, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02118, USA
4Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21295, USA

Received 19 June 2012; Accepted 18 September 2012

Academic Editor: Laurie C. Miller

Copyright © 2012 Laura K. Murray et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Street children, or children who live and/or spend time on the streets, are a vulnerable group of considerable concern to the global public health community. This paper describes the results of two linked qualitative studies conducted with children living or spending time on the street and in orphanages in and around urban areas in the Republic of Georgia between 2005 and 2006. The studies examined perceived causes of children going to the street, as well as indicators of healthy functioning and psychosocial problems among these children. Results on causes indicated a range of “push” factors leading children to the street and “pull” factors that keep children living on the street. Findings also showed a range of internalizing and externalizing mental health symptoms among children on the street and within orphanages. Some differences in responses were found between children living on the street and in institutions. It is important to understand the perspectives of these vulnerable populations to guide decisions on appropriate interventions that address their primary problems.