Why do Kenyan children live on the streets? Evidence from a cross-section of semi-rural maternal caregivers

Michael L. Goodman, Kelli Martinez, Philip H. Keiser, Stanley Gitari, Sarah E. Seidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Globally, study of factors contributing to the street-migration of the tens of millions of street-involved children focus almost exclusively on children's perspectives. In this study, we assess household and maternal factors associated with street-migration of children through self-report of 1974 randomly selected women in semi-rural Kenya. Contributing new perspectives on this global phenomenon, data show a statistically significant association between increased maternal childhood adversities and street-migration of children (p < 0.001). Higher household wealth (p < 0.01) and maternal education (p < 0.05) were associated with lower odds of street-migration of children. Social support, reporting HIV+, school enrollment of biologically-related children, overall health, reported alcohol use, and functional literacy significantly mediated these pathways. Protecting children from street-migration in the next generation requires reducing childhood adversities in the present generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Intergenerational transmission of risk
  • Kenya
  • Maternal education
  • Street-involved children
  • Street-migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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