Street children comprise about 1-3% of the children and youth population of the major cities in the Philippines. Metro Manila and the National Capital Region (NCR) have an estimated 30,000 children on the streets, while nationwide, some 250,000 street children are believed to be plying the streets of major urban centers. From available studies, most are boys aged 7 to 16 years. About 75% of them still return home to families, after working or begging on the streets.
The situation of children working and/or living on the street is viewed as a violation of the rights of children. The five major causes for children to take to the streets are poverty and large families; unemployment/ underemployment; limited access to basic social services; breakdown of family structures; and the shift from traditional values that tend to be consumeristic and materialistic. The immediate trigger is often physical or sexual abuse within the family. When these children experience family problems, hunger, neglect and domestic violence, they escape from their homes and live part-time, or even full-time on the streets. Some are simply abandoned.