Family Circumstances Forcing Children to Run Away from Home in Cameroon
Home background plays a very significant role in the lives of children. The love, respect and attention given to a child at home greatly influences his/her belonging to that home. Knowing the conditions of children at home is imperative if we wish to tackle the problems of street children in Cameroon. This study was to identify and assess the factors associated with the phenomenon of urban street adolescents in 3 cities in Cameroon by looking at the family conditions regarding children’s decision to run away from home. This cross sectional study was carried out on a non-probability snow-ball sample of 399 street children aged 12 to 17, with selection based on their availability and inclusion criteria. Data was collected through interpersonal administration of questionnaires then analysed by univariate and bivariate calculation of frequencies as well as cross tables and chi-square (at what level of significance?). After data collection and cleaning, data was captured in Microsoft Excel (2010) spreadsheet and imported into SPSS statistical package version 19 for windows (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA, for analysis). The study results showed that 75.2% of the participants could not meet their needs while at home, due to the poor status of their parents/guardians as confirmed by 84.5% of them. It should also be noted that 74.7% of participants reported not able to have sufficient meals while at home. Additionally, 70% of participants lived with troublesome parents/guardians such as drunkard or those who are mentally unstable and consequently they had neither respect nor affection for them. The study concluded that the participants experienced unfavourable home circumstances which contributed to them leaving/running from home to dwell on the streets. The Cameroon government should therefore play a major role in assisting street children to ensure that their rights and basic needs are met.