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Under United Nations definitions anyone under the age of 18 is a child and not regarded as a full citizen. Some children in stable loving families have many years in which to develop and reach maturity. But others may have to begin work and learn independence at just a few years of age. Our societies have always had children whose lives are at risk. But as towns and cities grow, as families face more and more pressures, as job opportunities become fewer and societies become less able to cope with the consequences, so more and more children take to life on the streets. Few countries today do not share this growing problem. In South America the problem is enormous. 

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