Fall 1986

Dreadful as Erin Blackwell’s plight was in 1983, she has found herself in worsening straits since. Erin, then 14, and a handful of other Seattle runaways like her were the subjects of a photo essay on the lives of children who live, literally, on America's streets. For Erin, shown below during a brief stay with her mother and stepfather at their one room apartment over a Seattle saloon, that life has included prostitution, rape, VD and arrest. The article led to a documentary, Streetwise, that was nominated for an Academy Award and a short fling with celebrity for Erin.

Over a period of nine months, she rode limos and jets to talk-show appearances and, to her great delight, ordered from room service at fine hotels. As a poster girl for the film, Erin toured Hollywood and Disneyland and even attended the Oscar ceremonies, meeting such personal idols as Jennifer Beals arid Prince. But a screen test for a possible acting role of her own flopped when Erin revealed she could not read a script.

Back hustling again, she became pregnant by a man whose name she does not know. When Erin gets a job and a permanent home, and proves she can care for him, the court will consider permitting her to keep her son, Daylon (at one day old). In the meantime, at 17, Erin Blackwell still lives on the streets of Seattle.