Support for youth | Western Cape Government

Support for youth

The youth of today face many challenges which previous generations haven't faced. Economic, technological and environmental changes have made life both easier and more difficult for today's children. Challenges of poverty, unemployment, crime, gangsterism, HIV/AIDS and drug or alcohol related problems, all play a role in our personal development.Youth at risk

What is a youth at risk?

Youths at risk are school learners who have drug- or alcohol-related problems or are in trouble with the law. Their emotional and/or behavioural problems often creates barriers to their learning and development. Young people who choose to leave the school system early are extremely vulnerable and susceptible to negative and criminal behaviour and less likely to succeed in the open labour market, leading to joblessness and poverty.

For many youths, overcoming pressures such as poor parenting, crime, violence, poverty, inadequate housing, health conditions and negative peer pressure can be hard. Youth who are influenced by these factors are referred to as "youth at risk".

If you or someone you know is a youth at risk, there's help available.

What support is there for youth at risk?

In the Western Cape, there are 5 levels of support to prevent or resolve youth related problems. The type of support and level of  restrictions placed on the youth depends on the nature of the problem. Interventions include educational, therapeutic and/or residential support services.

The 5 levels are:

Prevention in all schools 
This early warning system is implemented in all schools and is aimed at identifying children and families who may be particularly vulnerable. Every effort is made in the classroom to prevent emotional and/or behavioural difficulties from occurring or worsening.

Early intervention in all schools
Emotional support and guidance is provided to learners who are struggling with emotional and/or behavioural barriers to learning in the classroom.

School-based support programmes
Provided for learners who are identified as being at risk of being expelled from school, being placed away from home, or entering the criminal justice system, and in cases where temporary withdrawal from the classroom is necessary.

Youth care and education centres
If the learner doesn't benefit adequately from the support programme, referral to a residential or developmental programme at a youth care and education centre may be considered. The centres provide accommodation and a structured programme.

Special youth care and education centres
Special youth care and educational centres are available to young people who are in conflict with the law or in severe emotional turmoil and who may need to be physically, emotionally and/or behaviourally contained. Young people are referred to these centres by the courts under the relevant legislation for compulsory residence. Each young person is provided with an individual development plan to help them to be rehabilitated. A psychologist, occupational therapist, professional nurse and social worker are available at the centre for consultation. The educators are specially trained in child care theory and practice.

If you or someone you know is a youth a risk and want to make a change but not sure where to start, contact any one of these youth care and education centres in the Western Cape for more information. 

Youth at risk seeking help

Youth Centre Contact 
Bonnytoun Youth Care Centre     021 986 9100
Bosasa Horizon Youth Care Centre 021 987 2485
Ottery Youth Care and Educational Centre 021 703 3030
Eureka Youth Care Centre 023 349 7807/8
Wellington Youth Care Centre     021 873 1068/9


How we can help you take the first step to a better future

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college
If you’ve completed Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 at school and not sure what to do to next, consider enrolling at a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college. TVET colleges have a high focus on the employability of students and are most effective at preparing students for employment in a very wide range of fields.

Internships and learnerships

The Department of Community Safety in partnership with the Northlink College has embarked on a bursary programme for Youth at Risk. The aim of the partnership is to empower the youth by giving them an opportunity to better the lives through Education. The Northlink College offers diploma courses for those who've completed grade 9 and onwards.  

Chrysalis Academy  

The Chrysalis Academy offers a social crime prevention and upliftment programme targeting youth at risk. The 3 month residential programme is aimed mainly at young people from disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape between the ages of 18 and 25.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse and problematic patterns of substance use among youth can lead to problems at school, cause or aggravate physical and mental health-related issues. If you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse problem get in touch with the Department of Social Development to find out how our substance abuse programme can help you turn your life around.

Be a hero

With the recent increase in gang violence in the Western Cape, many innocent children and bystanders are losing their lives. To help combat the problem, you can report gang activity anonymously. Report anyone you think may be involved in a gang, so that together we can put a stop to gang violence. Read more about the Be a Hero campaign.

Teenage pregnancy

Here’s how to access contraceptives and counselling at our health care clinics.

If you’ve had unprotected sex, you can visit your local clinic for an emergency contraceptive also known as a morning after pill.  Having unprotected sex can put you and your partner at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.  To be safe, always use condoms to minimise your risk of contracting STI’s.

The content on this page was last updated on 29 March 2017