How do young people transition out of care? Graduation ceremonies are organized for almost every new level a person enters into but not with young people in orphanages.
What happen to young people when they turn 18 years in the orphanage? Having spent over a decade in a residential institution, I thought the home would organize a grand graduation ceremony for me before I leave. Once a young person clocks 18 years in the orphanage, he or she is termed as an adult and must exit the home. Most times some social workers try to link these young adults to stay with their relatives when they turn 18 years. In some few instances when these young adults are lucky to get sponsors, they are retained at the orphanage until completion of senior high school or tertiary.
At present, most childcare institutions have inadequate procedures for preparing youth in care for their transition to adulthood. This is because preparation is often not prioritized and trained personnel to address the specific needs of young people are in short supply.
In addition, there are hardly any social welfare programmes for young people at risk of social exclusion that care leavers can access. To a large extent, however, the provision of aftercare support is left to individual childcare institutions or a few under-resourced NGOs.
Most of the childcare institutions, however, do not have the capacity to provide any systematic support. What exists are ad-hoc initiatives that evolve as an afterthought of a staff member of an institution to support a few care leavers.
The vast majority of aftercare support for care leavers in developing countries, therefore, comes from informal sources such as sponsors and care leaver networks.
This is an opportunity for organizations to reach out to young people in care and train them before they exit.
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