Legal and Institutional Coverage to Street Children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Keywords:Street child; Child protection experts/officer; legal and institutional framework; child protection units, welfare and rehabilitation system.
The numbers of street children are estimated to be 1.5 million in Pakistan. Being an urban phenomenon, the pool is increasing day by day and simultaneously increases manifold vulnerabilities to violence, abuse, exploitation, etc. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has established legal and institutional structure to respond towards street children. However, the effective use of these institutions is yet to be made. There is a dearth of information on the subject; this study was conducted to evaluate the perception of Child Protection Experts regarding protection, welfare and rehabilitation system for street children in Peshawar. A Qualitative study using a structured interview format with predefined themes was conducted in 20 Child Protection Experts (KPCWC, CPUs, UNICEF, Social Welfare, Zamung Kor, Dost Welfare Foundation and SPARC). This study is based on Urie Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory focuses on the quality and context of the child's environment. Most of the experts explained that legislative framework is present to protect the street children rights; however, there are several legal and Institutional loopholes and a need of strong political and government determination to respond to the subject of street children by strengthening the legal and institutional framework that require government commitment to respond in a sustainable manner rather than Adhoc basis.