Enabling structural resilience of street-involved children and youth in Kenya: reintegration outcomes and the Flourishing Community model

Michael L. Goodman, Sarah E. Seidel, Andrew Springer, Aleisha Elliott, Christine Markham, Hani Serag, Philip Keiser, Ben Raimer, Lauren Raimer-Goodman, Christine Gatwiri, Kelvin Munene, Stanley Gitari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Millions of children and youth live on city streets across the globe, vulnerable to substance use, abuse, material and structural neglect. Structural resilience, the re-establishment of access to structural goods within a society such as housing, education, and healthcare following some interruption, provides an orientation for research and interventional efforts with street-involved children and youth (SICY). Further, a structural resilience framework supports organizing interactions between levels and sectors of a socio-ecology. Methods: Following the expressed interests of Kenyan SICY, and consistent with emerging policy interests at national and global levels, we assess reintegration trajectories of Kenyan SICY (n = 227) participating in a new program intervention and model. The intervention combines two coordinated, parallel programs – one focused on the rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and resocialization of SICY, and the other focused on empowering families and communities to provide better care for children and youth who are reintegrating from life on the streets to the broader community. Data were collected and analyzed from multiple stages across SICY involvement with the intervention. Results: We found 79% of SICY participants reintegrated with the broader community, and 50% reintegrated with families of origin and returned to school. Twenty-five percent of participants reintegrated to a boarding school, polytechnical school, or began a business. Probability of reintegrating successfully was significantly improved among participants whose families participated in the family- and community-oriented program, who were younger, with less street-exposure, expressed more personal interests, and desired to reintegrate with family. Discussion: To our knowledge, these are the first quantitative data published of successful reintegration of SICY to the broader, non-institutionalized community in any low- or middle-income country. Future research should (1) identify factors across socio-ecological levels and sectors contributing to health and developmental outcomes of reintegrated children and youth, (2) mechanisms to support SICY for whom the interventional strategy did not work, (3) methods to prevent street-migration by children and youth, and (4) system development to coordinate follow-up and relevant investment by institutions, organizations and community leaders to continue reintegration work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1175593
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 2023


  • Kenya
  • reintegration
  • resilience
  • socio-ecological frameworks
  • street-involved children and youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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