Using Izmir, Turkey as a case study the risk factors leading children to work in the streets were identified. Participants in the study were 226 children working in the streets, average age 10.35 +/- 2.21 who worked 6.8 +/- 2.11 hours per day. The great majority of the children were boys (90.2%), 77.9% were of primary school age; two-thirds of the children were working to provide an economic contribution to the family; 86.6% were from a large family; 78.8% were from a family that migrated to a big city. Almost all did not find working in the street safe; and nearly half were not hopeful about the future. It was established that frequent problems in the children's families include poverty, unemployment, poor education, having a large family, poor family functioning, migration, limited possibilities of shelter, and domestic violence, including the beating of wives and children. Although nearly all the children still lived with their families, a small percentage of the children (5.8%) had begun living permanently on the streets and then cut ties with their families. A significant relationship was found between living on the streets and the age of the child, the father's education, and the father's use of alcohol.