The Kingdom of Morocco has made considerable progress regarding the institutional and legal framework in the field of childhood with the ratification of the UN treaty on the children rights in 1993 and the creation of the Observatoire National des Droits de l'Enfant ( ONDE) whose work is supported on the ground by the work of local and international NGOs. In addition, it is worth mentioning the new family code which strengthens links between family members and preserves the rights of the child.
There are also efforts to fight child labor and their premature exclusion from schools.
Child protection is also on the agenda of projects of the National Initiative for Human Development initiated by the Kingdom in April 2005.
The Kingdom puts time and means necessary to improve the living conditions of children and Moroccan Sahrawi in several areas, including health, education, advocacy and protection against delinquency. The Kingdom also gave the Sahrawi children the right to express their ideas and concerns in an institutional framework such as the national Child Parliament and the children’s councils.
In accordance with the ratified agreements with international institutions (UN…), the Kingdom has undertaken and revised several laws relating to children protection including caring for abandoned children and civil liability, family code, labor code, code of criminal procedures and code of child protection.
In addition to these projects, the kingdom has initiated the development of a national planning strategy in the field of childhood 2005-2015 called Maroc digne de ses enfants". This strategy emanates from a national dialogue involving all the nation’s forces operating in the field of childhood. Consultation lasted almost one year.
Street children have appeared in the Kingdom’s major urban centers late 80. Since then, several actors in the administration and civil society took in charge this national problem to eradicate this scourge and reintegrate children into the normal social life. The approach used for this purpose includes the following steps:
Step 1: Phenomenon Identification
It should be remembered that UNICEF has identified 8 million street children in the world. This painful situation favors exclusion and denial of the child’s basic rights.
The Kingdom of Morocco has initiated a first sociological study in 1999/2000 to identify the problem. This study was bolstered by the finding of several NGOs operating in the field. Following the gathered information, street children phenomenon depends on several social factors such as poverty, the disintegration of the family in addition to premature school dropouts.
This study has identified between 18,000 and 20,000 street children bearing in mind that several studies show that their number is rising. The study also showed that:
• The causes of living in the street differ from one child to another
• More than 65% of children use a variety of not categorized drugs
• Most children stop school at a premature age
• Society’s attitude towards street children is very negative
The efforts made by public authorities and civil society in the field are not negligible but still suffer from certain constraints:
• The number of associations operating in this field is limited
• Some associations have accumulated experience and expertise in the field of child, but their efforts are not counted
• Specialized management remains limited
• The equipment of specialized centers needs to be strengthened
• The legal framework is not fully identified (especially for the specialized tutor).
Step 2: General causes of this phenomenon
The reasons behind children living in the street can be categorized as follows:
Social Causes :
• Family break-up due to divorce or abandonment
• parental violence against children
• Use of drugs, alcohol…by parents may lead to prostitution by mothers
• Poverty and its impact on child development
• Long-term unemployment of parents
• The lack of social cohesion and solidarity
• The relatively high rate of illiterate parents
• Failure of parents to assume their duties towards their children
Beyond these reasons, some children feel the need to live independently from their family environment at the preadolescence and adolescence age.
Step 3: Phenomenon Dangers
The great danger of the phenomenon of street children is that it occurs at a crucial moment in the development of the child's personality. The lack of affection and supervision determine its character and its guidelines for the rest of his life.
Living in the streets is also associated with delinquency and types of exploitation that the child suffers. This is why governments and associations in charge of child protection are being mobilized to counter the phenomenon from the identification of new street children.
Objectives of the national programme for child Protection
The main objective of this program is to combat the spreading of the phenomenon of street children, facilitate their reintegration into society and anticipate the phenomenon especially of children in difficulty or previously identified difficulty.
• Enhance knowledge about this phenomenon and create a database on children profile
• Make leaders, elected officials and the public aware about the danger of this phenomenon and the need for remedial action.
• Evaluation / upgrading of current programs and benefit from successful experiences
• National Coordination of all programs
• Strengthen the legislative framework for child protection
• Improve supervision level
• Support to associations operating in the field of child (aid and assistance)
• Support to specialization efforts of some associations in charge of children in difficulty
• Setting up national criteria for the construction of monitoring reception centers
The beneficiaries of the national program for child protection are:
• Street children
• Children in precarious situation may lead to street
• Families of street children
• Associations operating in the field of child
• Public opinion
• Department in charge of family, children and the disabled
• Department of the Interior
• Department for Social Development, Solidarity and the Family
• Royal Gendarmerie and National Security
• Department of Justice
• Department of Health
• Department of Education
• Department in charge of literacy and informal education
• Department of Culture
• Department in charge of vocational training
• Department in charge of youth
• Regional councils
• Urban municipalities
• The rural communes
• Mohamed V Foundation for Solidarity
• Social Development Agency (ADS)
• L’entraide nationale
• Loan Companies
• Associations specialized in the field of street children (children in difficulty in general)
• Associations operating in the field of children in neighborhoods
• United Nations Fund for Children
• Arab Council for Childhood and Development
• United Nations Fund for Development
Private sector and public institutions
. Universities and scientific research centers
. Organizations representing children
- Parliament of the Child
- Children councils
Regional and national media
• The family
• The school
• The direct interveners
• police and gendarme
• Juvenile Judge
• Social Fund
• Psychologist Doctor
• Educational and cultural animator
Despite the significance of this scourge throughout the Kingdom, the Sahara region has been relatively preserved from this phenomenon thanks to the social structure and ancient Saharan strong ties that bind children to their families.