|Editor||P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship|
As in other developing countries with metropolises, ‘street children’ have constituted one of the most important problems in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, over the last two decades. The General Directorate of Social Services and Child Protection Agency (hereafter SHÇEK), is the state agency responsible for street children and their protection. The main focus of the study has been to explore the nature and organisation of state welfare service provision for street children in Istanbul and to develop conceptual framework, which describes, illuminates the state welfare service provision for street children in Istanbul from its service providers’ point of view. Critically prepared grounding through the literature survey and preliminary field projects have provided the guidelines for the selection of methods and approaches which have yielded meaningful and reliable results in the hitherto uninvestigated aspects of the fields of service provision for street children in Turkey. The qualitative methodology like the ‘Narrative Interview’ method has been utilised to collect data on the services for street children. The approach taken in research participation with the service providers ranging from senior management through the frontline workers down to the support staff employed by the SHÇEK organisations has been richly rewarded by data amassed on the modus operandi and the shortcomings of these organisations not only supporting the reported results of similar research globally but also providing useful explanation for the apparent perpetuation of the street children problems of Istanbul. The most important result of the research is the demonstration that service provision cannot be assessed without the direct investigation of service providers because the service providers themselves determine the scope and the quality of the service provision. The research has proven that SHÇEK reproduces its marginalisation in the society, consequently of its employees which adversely promotes re-marginalisation of the service users.