Street children live in abandoned buildings, cardboard boxes, parks or on the street itself. A great deal has been written defining street children, but the primary difficulty is that there are no precise categories, but rather a continuum, ranging from children who spend some time in the streets and sleep in a house with ill-prepared adults, to those who live entirely in the streets and have no adult supervision or care.
A widely accepted set of definitions, commonly attributed to UNICEF, divides street children into two main categories:
1. Children on the street are those engaged in some kind of economic activity ranging from begging to vending. Most go home at the end of the day and contribute their earnings to their family. They may be attending school and retain a sense of belonging to a family. Because of the economic fragility of the family, these children may eventually opt for a permanent life on the streets.
2. Children of the street actually live on the street (or outside of a normal family environment). Family ties may exist but are tenuous and are maintained only casually or occasionally.
Street children exist in many major cities, especially in developing countries, and may be subject to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or even in extreme cases murder by "cleanup squads" hired by local businesses or police.
In Latin America, a common cause is abandonment by poor families unable to feed all their children. In Africa, an increasingly common cause is AIDS. [Wiki]