All over the world, the network of care leavers and leaders keeps gaining momentum. Each day, a new care leaver network is formed. This is because that aspect of care has been suppressed for so long a time.
Beyond care actually lies the real struggles. In my book Beyond the Orphanage, I mentioned, “ For too long, society’s focus has only been on supporting children in residential or foster homes and not entirely on care leavers”.
Interestingly, many organizations such as USAID, Better Care Network, Hope, and Homes for Children, among others, are supporting numerous care leavers/leaders to pioneer a movement worldwide.
Who is a careleaver?
Any adult who spent time in care as a child (i.e. under the age of 18) is termed a care leaver.
Who is a care leader?
Someone who grew up in care and has left and using their expertise to provide Care experienced training, and consultancy for young people in and out of care.
Why support CLN
Care leavers worldwide have been broken one way or the other. Care leavers face a variety of challenges. They struggle with their identity. They carry trauma from their experiences growing up. They face discrimination for having grown up in care. Then, when they reach legal age, they are usually left without any support. That is why it is important to support such groups. Caring for care leavers could be housing, education, mentorship, career and guidance support.
A care leaver Network (CLN) is like a safety net where young people feel they are not alone with challenges. The network allows them to speak with one voice, advocating for change together rather than doing it in isolation. Care leavers are looking for fair and progressive solutions. That is why they are mobilizing and collectivizing themselves. They want to be heard, included and treated equally. They cannot do it alone hence they need allies. Civil society organizations can fill the gap by supporting them, building their access, knowledge and understanding so that they can meaningfully participate in decision-making processes, get employed and live a full life. On the other hand, working with governments, CSOs can educate policymakers about the challenges of care leavers. They can build a database by reaching as many care leavers as possible, eventually creating a global network of care leavers so that no care leaver is left behind.
There are many networks of care leaders and leavers evolving with a few listed below
Kenya Society of Care Leavers
YOUHUB CARE LEAVERS-ROMANIA
Care Leavers Ghana Network
Australia care leavers network
Care leavers network, Bihar
Care leavers inner circle, Rajastan
Assam Care leavers association, Odisha
Yuva Shakti Sangathan, Madhya Pradesh
National care leavers network, India
Generation Never Give Up- Sri-lanka
Shine together care experienced
Latin America Network of Care leaders
Zimbabwe Care Leavers Network
Sierra Leone network of care leavers
Global care leavers community
Care leavers café
AOP- Aftercare Outreach Programme
Lift- Learning in Fellowship Together, India
Onka Cambodia Care Leaver
KHMAENG- Youth Care Leavers Association (Informal)
This Life Cambodia Care Leaver (TLC)
Asociacion columbienes de egresados de putecas estate (Colombia)