International Care Leavers Conference to create global advocacy
The first-of-its-kind global forum registers the humanitarian, social and economic urgency of bolstering facilities for Care Leavers, a global generation of youth growing up without parental care.
International Care Leavers Convention, a virtual event scheduled for November 23-25 is poised to raise awareness and catalyse change, both at a national and international level and nearly 500 delegates from over 68 countries are registered to participate ranging from Care Leavers to policymakers and researchers to address this matter. The Convention is set up by a four-member organising committee: Udayan Care (Headquartered in New Delhi, India), SOS Children’s Villages International (Headquartered in Austria), Stiftung Universität Hildesheim (Germany) and Kinder Perspectief (The Netherlands).
The first-of-its-kind global forum registers the humanitarian, social and economic urgency of bolstering facilities for Care Leavers, a global generation of youth growing up without parental care. Across the globe, there are tens of thousands of at-risk Care Leavers, who face the brunt of ill-implemented policies,that do not take into consideration their needs as they transition from Care facilities.
According to a 2019 study conducted by Udayan Care in partnership with UNICEF and TATA Trusts, across the Indian cities of Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan 50% of all surveyed Care Leavers received no housing support, 40% were unable to complete their schooling and 48% had no independent source of income. The Care Leavers interviewed in this study drew an average monthly salary of INR 7,500 - 8,500 which is lower than the minimum wages for unskilled labour across states.
In addition to the potential humanitarian crises perpetuated by the lack of proper Aftercare policies, Care Leavers represent a resource of untapped intellectual capital that represents a compounding economic cost. The situation has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left the already-vulnerable youth at further risk of physical, financial and social harm. This has resulted not only in loss of jobs and income, but also left Care Leavers in crises of food, housing, mental and physical well-being and livelihoods.
NGOs, research bodies, policy makers and governments around the world continue working towards developing proficient Aftercare plans and policies that support vulnerable youth across the globe, as they transition from Child Care Institutions. This enables a framework of support for children and youth from Alternative Care settings developed to facilitate advocacy and policy change with commitments and recommendations.
The Convention will also include former Care Leavers such as Mark Riddell who is now National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers within the Department for Education, Manchester, United Kingdom. Care Leavers from several other countries including Australia, Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka will also join the conversation.
Over an intensive three-day virtual session of discussion and debate, the Convention aims to collate global research, define best practices and work towards implementing policy change that administers internationally cohesive, scalable solutions to secure socially, emotionally and financially stable lives for both present and future generations of Care Leavers.
The underlying principle that informs the Convention is that of free will and respect for youth’s dignity. It is underlined by the philosophy of “nothing for us without us” and is anchored and driven by the Care Leavers themselves, with guidance from the organising Committee of the Convention.
The Convention will take place from Monday 23 November to Wednesday 25 November. It is organised by Udayan Care, SOS Children’s Village, Stiftung Universität Hildesheim and Kinder Perspectief with support from UNICEF, TATA Trusts, Miracle Foundation, Friends of Foster Care, I-Partner, Wataneya Society, EPIC, YUWAAH (Generation Unlimited), FICE and Euro Child.
Leading upto the Convention, pre-events curated by various partner organisations also draw attention to Care Leavers’ concerns, policy-gaps, and conduct discussions with both Care Leavers and experts from across the globe, in order to draw from global care best practices and create actionable ecosystems that will mitigate existing concerns.
Shubha Murthi, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, SOS Children’s Villages International Dr. Kiran Modi, Founder and Managing Trustee of Udayan Care, Delhi Dr. Emmanuel Grupper, President of the International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE), chairman of its Editorial Board and the President of FICE-Israel. Dr. Severine Thomas is a researcher at the Institute of Social Pedagogy and Organisation Studies, University of Hildesheim (Germany)
Convention Registration Details: http://www.careleaversconvention.udayancare.in/index.php/register/
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