21 August, 2019

Study finds youth leaving Care Homes are ill-equipped to stand on their feet

Key Findings:

Awareness of aftercare:
  • 67% of CLs were not aware about Aftercare-services and other welfare-schemes that can be accessed by them.
In-care Experience:
  • Child Care Institution (CCI) Life-experience: Nearly half (44%) of CLs were not consulted with regard to their own care & rehabilitation
Aftercare experience:
  • Housing: Gender Disparity; there are no Aftercare-homes for girls, except one each in Delhi and Maharashtra. Also, given the concerns of safety & security for girls, the provisioning of group-homes for them is not as common as for boys.
  • Emotional well-being: More than 61% of CLs face recurring emotional distress.
  • Education & Vocational Skills: 40% of all the CLs could not complete their schooling.
Financial independence and Career:
  • Almost half (48%) of the CLs are not financially independent
  • Among those who are earning, 93% are in salaried jobs and 7% are self-employed. The average monthly salary was between INR 7,500 and INR 8,500.
  • Independent Living Skills: One third of all the CLs didn’t feel empowered to live independently.

New Delhi, August 21, 2019: Nearly half of the children who leave Child Care Institutions when they turn 18 years old grapple with harsh realities of the world. Nearly half of them are unable to find paid work. Of those who do, 93% are salaried and 7% are self-employed. The average monthly salary was between INR 7,500 and INR 8,500, according to a research study conducted by NGO Udayan Care. Moreover, 67% of such children are not aware of Aftercare provisions, the study said.

Aftercare refers to the care and support, children leaving alternative care settings beyond the age of 18 years to enable independent living and community integration, are entitled to, as mandated by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, its Rules of 2016 and the Child Protection Scheme, (earlier known as the ICPS).

The study titled ‘Beyond 18: Leaving Child Care Institutions - Supporting Youth Leaving Care’ was done with the support from UNICEF, Tata Trusts, Deep Kalra (CEO, Make My Trip India) and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). It captures the voice of 435 Care Leavers and over 100 key informants including functionaries working on the ground on child protection in the states of Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Growing up in child care institutions has an impact on education, skills and social stability of the children, called ‘Care Leavers’ in technical parlance, and does not prepare them adequately with skills for transitioning into adulthood.

Shireen Vakil, Head – Policy and Advocacy, Tata Trusts said, “There is an urgent need to better understand the difficulties faced by children leaving aftercare services. These young adults suddenly find themselves in the world with no real support. What we require is a holistic rehabilitation plan for every such child to help them live a productive and dignified life.”

The study points out a lack of participation and non-inclusion of the children in planning their future, with 44 per cent Care Leavers accepting that they were not consulted in development of their Individual Care Plan, a pathway planning process mandated by the Juvenile Justice Act.

A 19-year old Care Leaver from Delhi, said, “There are so many decisions to be made every single day. You can’t even imagine. The fear of leaving a place which is ‘home’ for us haunts me. I want to grow up and work for other children who are in the same situation.”

Foroogh Foyouzat, Deputy Representative, UNICEF India said, “Based on the findings of the study, there is a need to ensure that children who leave care institutions are prepared for the challenging transition period, and are fully-aware of the aftercare provisions that they can avail of. They need to be equipped with adequate skills to live an independent life. Media can play a critical role in creating awareness about the challenges faced by these young people and draw the attention of decision makers and community to work together for sustainable solutions.”

Speaking at the release of the study, Aneesha Wadhwa, Executive Director of Udayan Care, called for recognition of Care Leavers as a vulnerable category under various central policies such as the National Youth Policy 2014 (due for revision in 2019), the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 and other polices for youth.

The study also highlights the gender disparity in the present approach to rehabilitation of Care Leavers. Sixty-three per cent of the female Care Leavers, as against 36 per cent males, do not have an independent source of income despite similar educational qualifications. Only two states – Delhi and Maharashtra – of the five states studied have an Aftercare home for girls. Largely, the approach to rehabilitation of female Care Leavers is focussed on marrying them or sending them to destitute homes or Swadhar Grihas rather than empowering them to be financially independent.

Dr. Kiran Modi, Managing Trustee, Udayan Care, said, “It is important that, for the youth to attain successful adult outcomes, adequate financial support for housing, education and independent living is provided. The current allocation of INR 2,000 per month, per young person, provided by the State Child Protection Society to voluntary organizations running Aftercare programmes, under the provisions in the Child Protection Scheme, is far from sufficient. There is a need for a dedicated Aftercare Fund and effective disbursal through a Single Window Support System, which additionally should provide a comprehensive Aftercare service and be a platform for the young adults.”

“I came to the child care institution (CCI) when I was 12 years old. I got emotional support and guidance for my career, and I became an engineer. When I was asked to move out from the child care institution, I was emotionally broken. Since the age of 12, I believed that institution was my home and family. After I moved out I always felt a sense of insecurity. I would like to request everyone to hear our voice so that we can also lead happy independent lives,” said Ramesh* a software developer in a MNC company.

The study also calls for mandatory transition planning as part of implementation of Individual Care Plans for all children living in Child Care Institutions from 14+ years to ensure their preparation out of care and towards independent living.

Notes to Editors

A fact sheet detailing the key findings, across various aspects, has been attached with this release.

UNICEF India works with the belief that every child deserves a future, a fair chance and a childhood and that every child has a fair chance at a safe and happy life. UNICEF, as the lead technical partner for this research project, has closely supported in refining the research tools, getting access to state government departments in the four states, except Delhi, where DCPCR was the technical partner.

Tata Trusts seeks to bring about sustainable impact in the quality of life of underprivileged populations and catalytic transformation in society through interventions across India.

Deep Kalra is CEO of Make My Trip India and is passionate about providing opportunities for youth in the country.

Udayan Care, a registered Trust, transforms the lives of underserved children and youth, through meaningful interventions for development at every step of their journey.

Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropic organisation, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, energy, rural upliftment, urban poverty alleviation, and arts, craft and culture. The Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country. For more information, please visit

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