In India, as in other countries, the rise in the number of street and working children is associated with the phenomenon of rapid urban growth, especially of sprawling slums and shanty towns. The predicament of the urban child "in difficult circumstances" is inextricable from these conditions of urban poverty in which he and she is brought up. The first point of any enquiry into childhood in India's slums and squatter settlements, therefore, has to be the entire living context of poor urban children: physical, environmental, socio-economic, and familial. Unless the child's family is made the target of understanding and improvement, there is not likely to be sustained amelioration of the children's current plight or future prospects.
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