“Current Aftercare Practices” (CAP) is a documentation exercise conducted in the State of Rajasthan and is part of a multi-state research and documentation conducted in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Delhi. Udayan Care has undertaken the CAP documentation in Rajasthan in partnership with Child Resource Centre, Department of Child Rights with support from UNICEF Rajasthan and Tata Trusts, and is based on the premise that every child who leaves an Alternative Care setting on completing 18 years of age (or becomes a ‘Care Leaver’, ‘CL’ hereafter) needs extended support in the form of Aftercare. The CAP documentation gathers evidence through a scientific data collection process, consolidates knowledge and promising practices and discusses gaps and challenges from multi-stakeholders’ perspective. At various stages, the documentation has employed participatory methods to incorporate the voices of youth and critical feedback from key stakeholders and experts.
Udayan Care has developed a conceptual and analytical framework, called, the ‘Sphere of Aftercare’, drawing from its experience in child protection, the extensive literature review undertaken, and the findings of the pilot study it conducted in Delhi (2017). The ‘Sphere of Aftercare’ comprehensively identifies 8 different domains of Aftercare, which are affordable and adequate housing, independent living skills, interpersonal skills and social relationships, mental and emotional wellbeing, physical health, financial independence and career, education and vocational skills, and identity and legal awareness. The CAP documentation is designed to look at the support and services received by CLs from the objective lens of an ‘Aftercare Quality Index’(AQI), calculated using the scores within each of these 8 domains.
The report covers a total of 98 young adults from Rajasthan, comprising of 40 males and 58 females CLs, from both Government and NGO-run Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and 17 youth who, as children, availed the benefits under the Palanhar scheme of the Rajasthan Government. A total of 25 key informants were also interviewed as part of the study. Currently, Aftercare provision under the JJ Act and its Rules is meant only for CLs exiting from CCIs and is not applicable for Palanhar beneficiaries in the State. Although, much work on child protection is happening in the State, there are many areas, one of them being Aftercare, where dutybearers need to rise to the call to meet the aspirations of the youth and CLs.