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Nearly half of children leaving care homes unable to find paid work: Study

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 21, 2019  | 23:21 IST

New Delhi, Aug 21 (PTI) Nearly half of the children leaving child care institutions (CCIs) when they turn 18 years are unable to find paid work, according to a new study. The study said that even those who do find work, 93 per cent of them are salaried and 7 per cent self-employed. The average monthly salary was between Rs 7,500 and Rs 8,500, according to a research conducted by NGO Udayan Care. Moreover, 67 per cent 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. 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). Nearly half of the children, mostly girls, who leave child care institutions when they turn 18 years are unable to find paid work, the study said. 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, she said. 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. 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," Foyouzat said. 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, 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 off or sending them to destitute homes or Swadhar Grihas rather than empowering them to be financially independent," the study said. PTI UZM SMN SMN

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