Physical and Mental Health Support and Outcomes for Children in Residential Care Programs

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Filled


  • Maternal, adolescent and child health,
  • Mental health,
  • Monitoring and evaluation


  • India


  • Delhi

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 4

Physical and Mental Health Support and Outcomes for Children in Residential Care Programs

As explained by Dr, Kiran Modi, Managing Trustee of Udayan Care, “Udayan” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Eternal Sunshine”. Udayan Care provides wrap-around support for orphaned and separated children (OSCs) and their caregivers and aims to bring support, advocacy and implementation services to the forefront for underserved sections of society.  Registered in 1994 as a Public Charitable Trust, Udayan Care works to empower vulnerable children, women and youth, in 19 cities across 11 states of India.

Starting with the establishment of one small group home or ‘Ghar’ for OHC (Out-of-Home-Care) children in Delhi in 1996, Udayan Care has expanded to 17 OHC across various states in India.  They have an ecological model that strives to takes into account the multiple needs of developing children and young adults and have developed a variety of service and policy goals including: Aftercare Transition Programs for youth leaving care; Girls’ empowerment and higher education; Vocational training and livelihood; and policy advocacy on better standards in institutional care. In 25 years, they have directly impacted the lives of about 25,000 children, women and youth as beneficiaries as well as thousands as indirect beneficiaries through their training programs and advocacy efforts.

Project Opportunities

Through the Udayan Care Ghar Program, Duke SRT students will continue to support core mission goals by providing mental health screening for various resident populations, including care-givers and social workers, and will work with leadership to support research and intervention activities and possibly recommend and develop new program directions. Students will gain experience learning about Orphan and Separated child health issues in India and the care model Udayan has developed.

Activities for summer 2022 may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Develop sustainable collaborations around research methods and service capacity with Udayan Staff
  • Develop and implement strategy for key child and caregiver health research questions that are important for Udayan leadership.
  • Recruit and collect longitudinal and cross-sectional data using current tools on bio-psycho-social health, including depression, anxiety work burn-out, coping style and agency, attachment, risk/resiliency, trauma, physical health, growth and nutrition
  • Distill findings from last 8 years, combine and help analyze past and current physical and mental health data, write reports to disseminate results for professional staff, children, caretakers, and larger NGO community and for research journals.
  • Explore, develop, and help investigate new tools for the Indian OSC population and their caretakers.
  • Explore and assess service support programs for OSC and their caretakers
  • Engage with mentoring children and transitioning youth at Udayan Care
  • Interaction with health workers, policymakers, and child guardians to better understand solutions to promote optimal care and development.
  • Immersion in the local culture in person, if travel is possible, and virtually if its not.
  • Identify a diverse set of Alumni who have been out of Udayan anytime from 6 months to 10 years.  Engage in the following: a) MH screening for depression, stress and anxiety (DASS21, PHQ9, GAD) b) Qualitative questionnaire asking about 1. Retrospective impact of Udayan, 2. challenges they have faced as former OSCs, 3. current life situation, and 4. successes and areas for growth.
  • Care-giver support in parental communication, stress management, mindfulness. Revisit the applying intervention in the homes that the students implement and assess. 
    • Here we may also see the possibility of understanding a child's expectations from different stakeholders involved directly (expectations from caregivers, mentor parents, social worker and the counselor). What, according to a child, creates a conducive environment for him/her? 
    • We may also explore the kind of support caregivers expect from the mentor parents, social worker and counselor in their Udayan Ghar.
    • What do caregivers think the actual purpose of their role in Udayan Ghar is? Is it just cooking meals, escorting children, maintaining daily routine and looking after children and day-to-day functioning of the Ghar, or is it something beyond?
Project Application Process

Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to Ms. Lysa MacKeen by October 15, 2021. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. The scheduled interviews for this project location will take place during the week of October 26- November 6th.

Selected students will need to complete the Udayan Care volunteer application form which includes a background check and ethics protocols. 



Hindi oral and/or writing skills very useful but not required.

Area of Interest

  • Interest in mentoring and working with children and young adults, in person or virtually
  • Strong interest in social science research. Knowledge (course or experience) in research methods, data collection and statistical analysis useful
  • Strong writing and communication skills required
  • Interest in policy and advocacy, including developing policy briefs.
  • Interest or experience in program development, in supporting capacity building, and sustainable transfer of research and applied program skills to local students and leadership.
  • Passionate about GH ethics and interest in applying ethical principles to personal and professional work. Strong work ethic and selfless commitment. 
  • Self-motivated learner with excellent project management and organizational skills
  • Professionalism, maturity and respect, and cultural sensitivity in working with care-providers, health workers, and NGO and faculty supervisors and mentors.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team of peers, in an intense social and work environment, especially if traveling on the ground in country.
  • Course work and/or experience in developmental psychology, child/maternal health, and global mental health
  • Experience with India and/or Hindi very helpful but not required. Of primary importance: Cross-cultural sensitivity openness, interest in self-reflection
  • Team members will be required to participate in weekly team training meetings and engage actively in post-fieldwork follow-up tasks, Fall 2022.  Students will have the option for signing-up for independent study credit for post-fieldwork tasks.

Read more about the previous team’s work here. You can also read about the 2021 team’s time in their blogs here and here.