The Care Leaver Experience: A Report on Children and Young People’s Experiences in and After Leaving Residential Care in Uganda

Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi, Melissa Fricke, Angie Hong Max, Mai Nambooze, Mark Riley - Uganda Care Leavers project

The Uganda Care Leavers (UCL) project is sponsored by Alternative Care Initiatives (ACI), a Ugandan NGO, and BULA, a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The project supports and advocates for care leavers— children and young people who have spent some, or all, of their lives in residential care.

The Uganda Care Leavers (UCL) project believes that providing care leavers with support and opportunities to freely voice their perspectives and experiences in a non-threatening and refl ective manner is critical in highlighting the inherent challenges of the overreliance on residential care.

UCL believes in the value of care leavers speaking about residential care from a fi rst-hand perspective and using this vantage point to advocate for care reform. This unique perspective gives UCL a powerful voice in influencing policymakers and practitioners to better understand the challenges faced by care leavers who have spent time in residential care in Uganda.

In order to address the need for evidence-based research about the care leaver experience, a study was facilitated by the Uganda Care Leavers project by conducting peer-led participatory workshops throughout the country. These care leavers, identified by local community leaders and networks, were invited to participate in workshops where they completed surveys about their experiences. The study focused on understanding the care leavers’ experiences:

  • Prior to entry into residential care
  • In residential care
  • After leaving residential care (including preparation and after-care support, help and advice received before leaving care, and after-care support)

Survey results are the basis of this study’s recommendations and suggestions for future care reform.