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Aftercare Outreach Programme (AOP)
About the Programme
“While leaving my CCI, I felt like an uprooted plant from a pot which is left unattended and unattached, thus just withering away…” – Care leaver (CCI, Delhi)
The Need: (Project Justification/Rationale)
Aftercare is an integral part of the child care provided to children who do not have their biological families to take care of them (the biological parents may be dead, missing, or not fit to take care of them, due to many reasons, poverty being one of them). The guiding law for these children, the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 defines “orphans” as children without biological or adoptive parents or legal guardians and those whose legal guardian is not willing to take, or not capable of taking care of them. Under this law, these children live in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and are governed as children in need of care and protection (CNCP). When they turn 18 years of age, they are expected to leave the CCI and become independent. Considering their vulnerability, the law and policy allow for their continued support in the form of Aftercare to mainstream them in society. Upon leaving care, these young persons with lived experience of care are known as Care Leavers (CLs). Udayan Care’s “Beyond 18” study shows that most Care Leavers have very limited support and are not prepared to be on their own. The mere turning of 18 years does not address their vulnerability and the childcare system does not adequately prepare them with life skills, education or vocational skills to live an independent life. While Udayan Care continues to support all its children exiting care from UGs for Aftercare, the study showed that there were many others who we needed to reach out to who were exiting from other CCIs or other forms of alternative care settings, and are expected to fend for themselves without any support, despite there being a strong policy and legal mandate to provide them continued support in for the form of Aftercare.
Care Leavers (as defined above) in the age group of 18 to 21 years are the target beneficiaries who need support in their rehabilitation and starting an independent life. AOP envisages adequate engagement to prepare them to leave childcare and move towards independent living and these children living in CCIs who are 18 years and above are also directly benefited through this intervention.
The AOP VISION AND MISSION -
The overall vision for AOP is to enable all Care Leavers in India to lead a dignified and independent life and ensure that their rights are upheld according to the legal mandate. For the first 5 years, (2020-21 to 2024-25) AOP will enable 600 Care Leavers across multiple cities to lead an independent and dignified life and ensure their rights and entitlements are upheld, thereby showcasing a demonstrable model for replication and possible adoption by central/state government and other organizations.
The Specific Objectives are:
1. To adequately prepare children in CCIs to be prepared to leave them and move towards independent living.
2. To contribute to the overall well-being of Care Leavers by nurturing them, providing them with hope, confidence and access to varied opportunities for their holistic development such that they evolve as independent and responsible citizens.
3. To ensure their skilling, readiness for employability and motivate them to a pathway of career progression
4. To inculcate values in Care Leavers, especially giving back to society.
5. To develop demonstrable models of aftercare and advocate for the rights and entitlements of the Care Leavers to improve the aftercare ecosystem in the country.
Domains of AOP