Leaving alternative care: Building support systems for young people

Perera W.D.P. - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond


Once a young person who receives care in an alternative care facility reaches the age of 18, it is mandatory by the law in Sri Lanka that he/she should leave the care and start an independent living as an adult. Research has shown that young people who have been in such care are more likely to experience adverse outcomes when entering the society as they were not adequately prepared for life after care. It was observed that this context leads to the risk of discontinuation of education, unemployment, increased prevalence of abuse and psychological issues, which makes them unsettled in the new social context. It is evident that there is a requirement of the involvement of policy makers, civil society and other alternative care setups collectively to make a change. This should be addressed through policy reforms, and institutional practice change, which will ultimately make way for raising awareness among the public and policy makers to bring the issues of age, based leaving care to their mandate. It is evident that promoting effective process on integration and extending support after care would provide young person leaving care the empowerment to become independent and live a productive life after care. Furthermore, there is a timely requirement for a change in legal and alternative care systems and a need for collaboration among stakeholders to build support systems for youth leaving care so it will omit the barriers faced by the care leavers and facilitate a smooth transition.

See other articles from the Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond Special Issue on Aftercare here.