West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) is ranked second in the country in terms of the highest number of street children after East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), according to the social service agency.
The two provinces have 12,764 and 12,937 street children respectively.
According to national data from 2010, the number of street children in Indonesia stood at 85,013, scattered across 33 provinces.
The 10 provinces with the highest numbers of street children were NTT with 12,937, NTB (12,764), Central Java (8,027), East Java (7,872), West Java (4,650), Central Sulawesi (4,636), Banten (3,902), West Sumatra (3,353), Maluku (2,899) and Lampung (2,799). The rest were found in other provinces in small numbers.
“The number of street children in NTB was quite high, even the second highest after NTT. We are currently verifying the data to find the exact figure,” said NTB Social Services Office head Bachruddin in Mataram on Wednesday.
Based on the criteria, he said, children below the age of 17 were categorized as street children if they were engaged in activities on the streets for more than 12 hours daily, earning money, seeking food and using their earnings to help their families’ economic needs.
“We estimate there are between 3,000 and 4,000 street children only because children who are on the streets just for fun might also fall into the category,” he said.
After the verification process, he added, the street children fitting the criteria would be provided with help through the Child Social Welfare Program (PKSA) with social service offices in each regency and mayoralty, sponsored by the central government. They would be accommodated in home sharing or with financially able foster families.
While those who are not included in the social criteria as street children will be provided with counseling and returned to their families.