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Child and Youth Care

Research, the world over, has established the anchoring role of family in the physical, cognitive, emotional and psycho-social development of an individual.  Any weakening of this structure negatively impacts the prospects of all the members, especially the children.

In India, 23.6 million children live without parental care, that is, they lack the oversight of at least one of their parents. These children, who have been temporarily or permanently separated from their biological families, need protection in the form of quality alternative care. The grave reality is that only 1.4% receive any sort of formal alternative care. On the ground, programmes entailing child-centric family strengthening measures or community-based care for such children are almost non-existent. More efforts are needed by the government to promote adoption.

Most children living in alternative care setups are expected to become independent at the age of 18. Without receiving any further guidance or support, many fall prey to the vulnerabilities faced by young people.

The lack of understanding on how to implement systems of care such as counselling or trauma-informed care approach for the mental well-being of such children compounds the problem. India also has a deficiency of research and data available on the number of children requiring or living in alternative care.  The pandemic has only exacerbated this issue and added to these numbers.

Udayan Care strongly believes that residential care should always be the last resort, and there should be a greater emphasis on family strengthening and community-based care. However, institutional care is still the most popular choice resorted to by the gatekeeping agencies of juvenile justice in India.

At Udayan Care, we are committed to ensuring sustainable and holistic development of children and youth, by upholding their rights and looking after their well-being. We nurture them with care and prepare them for life, staying by their side through different phases of life—childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, just as a family would. In whatever we do, we always put children first.

Our Approach

To read more about Udayan Ghars (Children Homes) - We believe that every child needs the warmth and security of a family. The ‘Udayan Ghar Programme’ literally meaning, ‘Sunshine Homes’ is a unique group-home model founded on the core concept of ‘L.I.F.E.’, an acronym for ‘Living in Family Environment’. The purpose of these Ghars is to nurture Out-of-Home Care (O.H.C.) children including parentless, abandoned or abused children in need of protection.

To read more about Udayan Ghars' Aftercare Programme- Once a child reaches the age of 18, they are considered to be adults as per the Juvenile Justice Act and have to leave the care homes.  At 18, these young adults are not fully equipped to handle life by themselves and need a helping hand in the form of continued education, training, counselling, mentoring and support. The Aftercare Programme bridges the gap for young adults of the ages 18 to 21 who are leaving their Udayan Ghars, by providing continued rehabilitative services and accommodation options in community, group or scattered housing.

To read more about Aftercare Outreach Programme (AOP)- Our successful interventions towards successful transitions of care leavers in the Udayan Ghar, and milestone research ‘Beyond 18’, conducted in 2018-19, covering more than 450 care-experienced youth in 5 states of India, led to the genesis of the AOP in 2020. In this programme, we identify and support, youth coming out of different Child Care Institutions, towards their education, vocational training, employment and empowerment. It directly supported 42 Aftercare youth in Delhi, and 12 youth in Gujarat in 2020.

To read more about State Projects on Alternative Care- Supported by UNICEF and Tata Trusts in 2019, Udayan Care published a national study which recommended the urgent need for demonstrable models of care, working with government organisations and functionaries, in building their capacities towards a non-institutional care approach with the principle of the best interest of children, and to focus on the continuum of care approach during the Aftercare phase using the ‘Sphere of Aftercare’ intervention framework, first developed in our seminal study ‘Beyond 18’.

To read more about Collectivising Care Leavers - Udayan Care has been a pioneer in collectivising Care Leavers through facilitating and enabling their youth support group, titled “Care Leavers Alumni Network (CLAN)” in Delhi.  Care leavers from any childcare institution can join this resource group to provide support through shared experiences. Now Udayan Care is supporting such networks in other parts of India too.

 

 

Our Resources