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Aftercare- A Global Comparison INDEPENDENT THOUGHT

Policy Note Aftercare – A Global Comparison Existing global practices of aftercare

Author: Abigail Rushton | Co-Author: Emily Copsey | Mentor: Vikram Srivastava

This study has been produced for the Justice for Children consultation on Aftercare.

This study compares the aftercare methods of children leaving institutional care across the globe. It aims to illustrate the best practices of aftercare, which could potentially be adopted in India to improve India’s current aftercare system and mechanisms.

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

Contents 1.

Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 3 About Independent Thought ............................................................................................... 3 About Authors .................................................................................................................... 4 About Mentor ..................................................................................................................... 4 1.1

2.

3.

Aims and Objectives ................................................................................................... 4

Context Setting ................................................................................................................... 5 2.1

The philosophy, purpose and importance of aftercare ................................................ 5

2.2

The Status of Aftercare in India .................................................................................. 5

Global Comparisons ........................................................................................................... 6 3.1

International regulations .............................................................................................. 6

3.2

Comparison by country ............................................................................................... 7

England (UK) ..................................................................................................................... 7 European Union Member States ......................................................................................... 8 Sweden................................................................................................................................ 8 Singapore ............................................................................................................................ 9 USA .................................................................................................................................. 10 Common Practices ............................................................................................................ 10 4.

Conclusions ...................................................................................................................... 12

5.

References ........................................................................................................................ 13

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

1. Introduction In recent years India has displayed its commitment to improving the lives of the countries children, through promoting child rights and implementing legislation to protect and enforce such rights. The JJ Act has gone a long way to ensure the protection of children and provide them with the help they need. This is illustrated through the number of children that are cared for under the Act. Recent figures suggest there are approximately 50,000 children in care institutions across India. However, once these children become ‘young adults’ there is a lack of care and services available to them. The need to strengthen aftercare services is evident when one considers the facts in relation to children leaving institutional life. Studies throughout the globe highlight that those who have been in the care system have considerably lower prospects and quality of life than their peers. Many young people leave the care system without the knowledge, skills and resources to move successfully into adulthood. Some of the problems this group face include: homelessness, living in poverty, unemployment, lack of educational prospects, loneliness, social isolation, poor mental health. For many, the disadvantages they face persist throughout their lives which can be detrimental for individuals, families (including future generations), communities and society as a whole. These problems are primarily due to, inadequate follow up and support after leaving the care system. It has been recognised that there is a need to strengthen the aftercare programme for children who are released from these institution, as to facilitate their reintegration into society in India.1 Therefore, there is an urgent need to tackle these problems in order to provide positive prospects and sustainable lives to those leaving care. This can be achieved by adopting some of the best practices from other countries across the world, and also by avoiding their mistakes. About Independent Thought

Independent Thought is a National Human Rights Organization working towards equity, justice and mutual respect within society. It is a centre for Child Rights Law and Policy. Based in Delhi NCR, iThought provides technical and handholding support to non government, government and multilateral-funding, policy, research and grassroots organizations in several states of India, such as; Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. iThought is a technical resource agency in the UNICEF Child Rights Eastern UP project. iThought has a team of multidisciplinary professionals and consultants with expertise in the areas of Law & Development; Rights of Children, Women and Marginalized Communities; Governance Intervention (ULB, PRI & Schedule Areas) and Conflict Zone; Social & Legal Studies & Action Research; Development of Legal Manuals & IEC Materials; & Imparting 1

India Study of Child Placement, UNICEF (2001). Independent Thought N-257|Sector 25|Noida 201301|Delhi NCR admin@ithought.in | info@ithought.in | 09971384994 www.ithought.in

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

Trainings; Participatory and Rights Based Approach; Strategic Planning, Monitoring & Evaluations. About Authors

Abigail Rushton, the author of this study, has recently graduated from the University of York, in England (UK) with a LLB qualifying law degree. In 2014 she will begin training to become a qualified solicitor in England. Her primary interest is in family law; therefore, working with iThought provides the perfect opportunity to gain some hands on experience of this area. Abigail is interning with iThought for two months and has undertaken projects focusing on child rights and issues which impact upon the family unit in India. Her recent projects include: a Child Rights Dictionary, a report on Child Participation in Governance and a comparative study of the Legal Age of Sexual Consent and Marriage. Emily Copsey, the co-author of this study, similarly, has recently graduated from the University of York, in England (UK) with a LLB qualifying law degree. In October 2013 Emily will be embarking on a postgraduate law degree in International Human Rights Law and Practice. Before beginning her studies, she wanted to gain some practical experience in the field of human rights. Therefore, she chose to intern with iThought, for four months, because of the broad range of areas in which they practice. Her recent projects include: a study of the Girl Child in India, a comparative study of the Approaches to Juvenile Justice and a proposal to Incorporate Legal Education into the Indian Curriculum. About Mentor

Vikram Srivastava is the founder of Independent Thought, a National Human Rights organization working towards equity, justice and mutual respect. He has been a Member of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), New Delhi. He has been working, with theoretical grounding on issues of Law and Development with focus on Women Rights, Child Rights, Tribal and Urban Issues. He has several publications to his name

1.1 Aims and Objectives The aim of this study is establish the best practices of aftercare across the world, in attempt to illustrate how the Indian system could benefit from implementing such measures. This study begins by defining what is meant by aftercare and why it is an important stage in the reintegration of children from the care system. This section provides context for the discussion of what are the best practices of aftercare? The study goes on to explore the methods and approaches used in various countries across the globe.

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

2. Context Setting Aftercare is the provision of care for all children, after they have completed 18 years and are discharged from the institutional care system. It is the process by which those leaving care are prepared and supported for the transition from institutional to independent life.2 For the purpose of this study, the institutional care system includes: children’s homes, special homes, shelter homes and foster care. Thus, this definition encompasses both sets of children dealt with under the JJ Act 2000; those in conflict with the law and those in need of care and protection. Upon completing 18 years the children that entered the care system have now become ‘young adults’ who are expected to live as adult members of society. However, people who have been in care often experience complex issues. This means that many people leave the care system without the knowledge, skills and resources to live a successful adult life. Therefore, Aftercare aims to prepare these young adults for the world outside the care system. The objective is to reintegrate those leaving care into society, enabling them to move away from an institution based life, and encouraging them to lead a happy, successful life.

2.1 The philosophy, purpose and importance of aftercare Aftercare is a vital stage in the care system, as it is the final contact the child/young person has with the care system. Unfortunately, the importance of this final stage is often overlooked. It is paramount that the continuum of care is not limited to the day a child/young person leaves the institutional care system- a parent would not severe contact with their child the day they leave home. As such, it is necessary to monitor the progress of people leaving care and, offer them support and alternative options to suit their individual needs.

2.2 The Status of Aftercare in India Currently, the status of aftercare in India is determined by The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (JJ Act). The Act provides for institutional care for juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection up to the age of 18 years. However, most of the children in care have nowhere to go once they reach the age of 18 and are discharged from their institutions. As empirical evidence and studies suggest, institutional life does not prepare children well for life outside an institution. They are unable to sustain themselves and are easily affected by negative influences. Therefore, as highlighted previously in the report, there is a need to prepare these children to sustain themselves during the transition from institutional to independent life. As such, the JJ Act provides for a number of effective alternatives for rehabilitation and social reintegration, including aftercare. The provisions for aftercare under the JJ Act 2000 are available for 18-21 year olds, who have no place to go or are unable to support themselves. 3 The form of aftercare is delivered 2 3

Aftercare Briefing Document, EPIC. JJ Act 2000 Rule 38 (2)

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

by way of providing: community housing on a temporary basis, encouragement to learn a vocation or gain employment in order to gradually sustain themselves, peer counselling,4 and loans or monetary support during training or in order to set up an entrepreneurial enterprise.5 The objective of such aftercare programmes is to facilitate the young adult’s transition from an institution-based life to mainstream society for social reintegration.6 The District Child Protection Society was responsible for developing aftercare programmes. As per the current rules, based on the case to case basis, a JJB/CWC can order placement of a juvenile/child in the after-care programme. The JJB/CWC shall mark a copy of the order to the DCPS for arranging after-care for the juvenile/child as per the guidelines.7 Furthermore, the Act envisages a system of partnerships with local communities and local governments to implement the legislation. This aspect of the legislation offers organisations the opportunity to provide aftercare services and implement improvements, without the need for amended aftercare legislation. In addition to the JJ Act the Integrated Child Protection Scheme 2009 (ICPS), orchestrated the provision of CHILDLINE care, support and rehabilitation services. As such, aftercare services are one of the areas under this bracket of services, which the scheme aims to improve, with the help of organisations at all levels. There is some comprehensive information regarding the guidelines under the ICPS for the best implementation of aftercare.8

3. Global Comparisons 3.1 International regulations There is some relevant information relating to the children in care and the rights and services that should be afforded to them in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, this information does not cover the level or quality of aftercare that children leaving care should expect. Article 3 prescribes that ‘the best interests of the child’ shall be the primary consideration in all actions concerning children, as such ‘institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision’. In line with this, Article 20 highlights that a child deprived or removed from his/ her family environment ‘shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State’. Furthermore, Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasises that all children should be protected from abuse and neglect. 4

Rule 38 (5) (a)- (d) Rule 38 (7)-(8) 6 Rule 38 (1) 7 Annexure-III JJ Act 8 http://wcd.nic.in/icpsmon/pdf/aftercare18042012.pdf 5

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

In addition, Article 25 guarantees the right of a child, who is placed in a certain environment, for the purposes of care, protection or treatment to have their circumstances periodically reviewed. These articles apply to children in care, but in practice it appears many countries consider it good practice to extend the principles to apply to children leaving care.

3.2 Comparison by country England (UK)

Studies carried out in the UK displayed that those leaving care had considerably worse prospects in comparison to their peers. The care system in England has undergone change in recent years, in an effort to improve the outcome of young people leaving care. Policy and practice developments have been implemented in England which aim to delay young people’s transitions, enhance preparation and planning, improve the consistency of support and strengthen financial arrangements, in order to better the outcome for care leavers. Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

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 

Local authorities (LAs) have a duty to assess and meet the needs of young people aged 16/17 who are in care or care leavers. LAs have a duty to keep in touch with care leavers until they are at least 21. Every eligible young person in care should receive a comprehensive pathway plan when they turn 16. This plan should map out a clear route to independence. Each young person should have a personal adviser who will coordinate the provision of support and assistance to meet the needs of the young person. Particular emphasis will be placed on helping the young person into education, training or employment. A financial regime will be provided for care leavers to ensure they have comprehensive financial support. Continuing assistance for care leavers aged 18 - 21, especially with education and employment, will be provided. Assistance with education or training continues to the end of the agreed programme, even if it takes some past the age of 21.

Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010

Regulations and guidance are intended to ensure that care leavers are given the same level of care and support their peers would expect from a reasonable parent and that they are provided with the opportunities and chances needed to help them move successfully to adulthood. Principles at the centre of decision making for care leavers:  

Would this be good enough for my own child? Providing a second chance if things don’t go as expected;

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

Is this tailored to their individual needs, particularly if they are more vulnerable than other young people?

Children and Young Persons Act 2008

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Increased the number of 16- 17 year olds remaining in care. Permits young people to remain in foster care up to the age of 21.

European Union Member States

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The EU in recent years has developed framework on areas outside of economic policy, which aim to unify the EU standards in relation to social matters. The child welfare system has been one of these areas. Standardising the level of care received in institutional care and afterwards has become important. Each member state can implement this framework in whatever way corresponds with their individual legal system, but the basic principles must be present.

Implementation of the Council of Europe Recommendation (2005) on the rights of children living in residential institutions

Main recommendations for Aftercare: 

Although children in care may be seen as a category of children with many common characteristics, they are individuals with specific needs, aspirations and hopes for the future. In many member States adequate supportive measures based on individual plans for after-care are not in place. Therefore, more emphasis needs to be placed on individual care plans. Evidence of the child’s right to participate in developing such after-care plans is generally not to be found. This highlights the importance of children being involved in decisions which impact their lives.

 Sweden Social Services Act 2012

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Sweden has a greater focus on prevention than other countries There are various duties to assist and monitor people under the age of 25, regardless of whether they have been in the care system or not. This level of support aids the younger generation to develop in a sustainable way. Social services have the duty to provide young offenders with long term support to reduce the risk of them reoffending.

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

Social Welfare Committee

The committee has the responsibility to: 

Make provision in its care of children and young person for the special needs of support and help which may exist following the conclusion of judicial or other proceedings concerning custody, resident, contact or adoption. The provisions can be in any form the committee see fit.

Swedish National Board of Institutional Care

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Children aged 12-20 years, who have received care in a foster home or other institution can be sent to a LVU home (special residential home) if all other methods have failed. They remain for an average of 5 months. Voluntary treatment includes: aggressions replacement training, relapse prevention, motivational interviewing, and individual psycho therapy.

Singapore

Use a multi-faceted rehabilitation process, as shown below:

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

USA

There are different rules and regulations for different states. Some states allow people to remain in foster care until 21; others have no choice and must leave at 18. However, there are calls to adopt a nationwide policy to allow young people to remain in foster care until 21. Comparative studies of state policy show that- the potential benefits, for those leaving care and for society, more than offset the costs to government, because more care leavers go on to higher education etc. and are able to support themselves. Therefore, they are less of a burden on the state in the long term. Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act 2008

Allows states to claim federal reimbursement for the costs of caring for and supervising for eligible youth until the age of 21 (rather than 18). Common Practices

During the course of research there are many practices that are common throughout the world. These ideals are present in the care system regardless of the way in which they appear or are implemented. This is can be summarized with the basic thinking that: for children in care, it is the responsibility of the state to make sure they have everything that a good parent should provide. All those who are involved in providing care, support and services to children and young people, whether formally or informally, have a role to play.9 It is common practice in many countries with well developed child care systems to have:    

Standards of conduct and practice and codes of practice. Services must be registered with care commissions, and are subject to regular inspection against national care standards. The staff are checked and registered. Councils or relevant authorities are empowered to discipline individuals and, remove them from their position if necessary.

International literature

The international literature and studies in this area tell us that there are various important issues which need to be tackled and considered when developing an appropriate aftercare system. Important issues:   9

Social exclusion of care leavers (material disadvantage and marginalisation). Their transition from care

Big Lottery Fund, Good practice guides for organisation working with young people (England, UK). Independent Thought N-257|Sector 25|Noida 201301|Delhi NCR admin@ithought.in | info@ithought.in | 09971384994 www.ithought.in

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

The services they receive The outcomes of leaving care interventions International research shows high risk of social exclusion for people leaving care.10

Basic needs young people require:    

Security and safety Positive regard Support Boundaries

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Mike Stein, Research Review, Young People Leaving Care Child Family and Social Work (2006) 11, 3, 273279 Social Policy Research Unit, http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4159/1/ResearchReview.pdf Independent Thought N-257|Sector 25|Noida 201301|Delhi NCR admin@ithought.in | info@ithought.in | 09971384994 www.ithought.in

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

4. Conclusions From the research in this study it is evident that providing effective services to youth transitioning to adulthood is a global challenge. The issues faced by children leaving care happens world over. This problem is not one confined to India; the developed world has not yet come up with a system that guarantees a positive outcome for children in the majority of cases. However, there are a number of practices which are leading countries towards an effective system of aftercare for those leaving care. The best practices of aftercare, as identified from different countries in this study are summarised as follows:   

 

Good aftercare services should be multidimensional and consist of packages of different services that can be adapted to suit individual needs. Services should include: economic support, accommodation, educational and employment training or planning, practical, emotional and mental health support. Young Adults should be able to stay in care, for an appropriate amount of time after the reaching the age of 18. Studies show a prolonging time in care increases the odds for a positive outcome. Provide opportunities for more gradual transitions from care, that are similar the transition of their age group e.g. many children remain living at home until their midtwenties. Services should be well planned and start early. It is important to ensure participation from the children/young adults themselves. They need to shape their own lives. There should be a continuity and stability of services.

This study suggests that preparation for aftercare should begin when the child in still in institutional life. At this stage an individual care plan should be created for the child, taking into consideration the religious, social, cultural and interests/hobby background of the child, as well as their individual aspirations and needs. This care plan should continue into after they leave care to ensure positive development as they continue into adulthood. The aftercare services available need to resemble those of a supportive parent, as such there should not be a one-size-fits-all model because every child is different. These methods can be integrated into the Indian system as much of the recommended practices are already present in the JJ Act, it is simply the implementation of such practices which proves difficult.

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Aftercare- A Global Comparison

5. References    

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http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/ccfr/Research/CWRC/DFE-RR198[1].pdf http://www.epiconline.ie/aftercare-policy-legislation--standards.html http://www.crin.org/docs/India%20Country%20Report.pdf http://www.eurochild.org/fileadmin/ThematicPriorities/CIAC/Eurochild/Eurochild%2 0Working%20Paper%20%20DI%20%26%20Quality%20Alternative%20Care%20FINAL.pdf http://www.mpsv.cz/files/clanky/8977/DE-INSTITUTIONALISING.pdf http://www.arkonline.org/media/56176/De-institutionalisation.pdf http://www.scswis.com/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=278 &Itemid=378 http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CBe7P0RkOEC&pg=PA314&lpg=PA314&dq=child+aftercare+global+comparison& source=bl&ots=K6A3kKRmIm&sig=oSJ_LGP1aovcJZH_obh2oVVJmDY&hl=en&s a=X&ei=cEQSUdLxF83MrQeM9IGQAw&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=chi ld%20aftercare%20global%20comparison&f=false http://www.childcentre.info/public/Elisiv_PowerPointVilniusPDF.pdf http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4159/1/ResearchReview.pdf http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/ccfr/Research/CWRC/DFE-RR198[1].pdf http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/media/63682/children_in_care.pdf http://nipccd.nic.in/reports/dsmdata.pdf

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Policy Note - After Care - A Global comparison on existing practices.