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Almost half of those who once lived in child care institutions without a job: Study

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The Times Of India
20th August, 2019 23:03 IST

NEW DELHI: A worrisome 48% of 435 adults who grew up in childcare institutions - shelters run by the government and voluntary sector have shared that they were without an independent source of earning.

The information appearing in a study on the life of 18 plus adults who grew up in childcare institutions also shows that 93% of those who had a source of livelihood were in salaried jobs and the rest were self-employed. The average monthly salary of these adults or “care leavers” as they have been called in the study, was merely Rs 7,500-Rs 8,500.
More females (63%) than males (36%) did not have an independent source of income. It is pointed out that this also reflects gender disparity and indicates that despite a considerable percentage of girls completing class 12 there are fewer work opportunities for them.

The analysis is based on a study conducted in five states - Delhi, Gujarat , Karnataka , Rajasthan and Maharashtra . It is based on the responses of 435 adults ( care leavers) who grew up in childcare institutions and are now over 18.

Voluntary organisation Udayan Care, Unicef and TATA Trusts have collaborated to bring out the study.

40% of all care leavers could not complete their schooling in children homes even at 18 years and 34% dropped out during the transition. The findings show that 42% of care leavers were placed in two or more homes. State-wise data shows that 52% and 67% care leavers in Karnataka and Delhi respectively stayed in more than one institution. At least one child was placed in seven different CCIs. These multiple placements adversely affected their education and attachment patterns.

The report emphasises the fact that even though “aftercare” has been provided under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, it has so far not been put to uniform practice, leaving children exiting CCIs, on attaining the age of 18 years, as vulnerable youth who are “no ones” responsibility.

Aftercare is defined as “making provision of support, financial or otherwise, to persons, who have completed the age of eighteen years but have not completed the age of twenty-one years, and have left any institutional care to join the mainstream of the society.”

Calling for measures to improve aftercare systems, it is noted that children who had positive experiences in the CCIs are likely to fare better in most domains including having better social and interpersonal relations. An assessment of emotional well being of care leavers in the study shows that over 61% of care leavers faced recurring emotional distress. Half of the care leavers faced the inability in maintaining relations with their families and parents.

Of the 435 care leavers covered by this study, 55 are from Delhi, 84 from Gujarat, 108 from Karnataka and 81 from Rajasthan. Out of the total care leavers, 55% were male and 45% female (17 to 30 years age group).

More than three fourth of the care leavers (CL) left the CCIs before the age of 20 years, while 17.5% lived beyond the age of 20 years. It turns out that the average age at which a majority of those interviewed entered the CCIs between 8 to 12 years of age across states.

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