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The Girls and Boys Town central focus – that of young people - along with the vision, dedication and commitment of donors, sponsors, supporters, staff, volunteers, families, educators, professionals and care givers has culminated in our credibility, growth and development since 1958 – with youth at our centre, where each day that follows will remain for the young people of our communities. 

This youth focus has taken us all from those humble beginnings to an organisation that has grown to one that today consists of four major national service divisions:

Residential Service Division –– provides residential care to over 300 youth – boys and girls – on any given day from all communities in ten nationally located residential centres. Girls and Boys Town is the only child- and youth-care organisation in South Africa offering youth two alternative residential programme options:

Four Youth Development Centres (each setting with up to 70 youth in a more structured environment) where the unique Peer-Group System of Self-government operates. This model significantly involves youngsters in decision-making concerning their own affairs. Youth elect their Mayor and Council and then
govern themselves under the guidance of adults, where they are taught to take responsibility for themselves and others.

Six Family “Group” Homes (caring for up to ten boys or girls in regular houses in the community with a husband/wife team as Family Teachers) where the Family Home Model, is unique in its focus on family-style living with emphasis on social skills teaching and meaningful self-governance by youth.

Evaluation and Research division - The E&R Division strives for better practice through conducting on-going evaluation and research. This is done through the continuous asking of two vital questions; “Are we doing what we say we do?” and “How successful are we in helping marginalised youth become productive and responsible adults?” In this way the E&R Division is responsible for the quality, integrity and effectiveness of all GBT models, services and programmes. We conduct yearly comprehensive assessments of both implementation (process) and outcomes. We have further embarked on an extensive three-phased research project, currently in phase two, to longitudinally track the outcomes of youth leaving our care. We are interested in examining the level of resilience they have built up in order to engineer positive outcomes as they live independently from GBT and deal with that challenge of becoming an independent adult. We also host post-graduate students conducting research and encourage staff to continue their higher education. 

Thus, the work of all sponsors, donors, volunteers, those within Girls and Boys Town South Africa and the four service divisions, continues to contribute to the 55-year-old organisation being viewed as the leader in helping youth and families, and all those who impact on the healthy growth and development of young people, where others have failed or given up!

Girls and Boys Town Operational Principles

Youth are central – Youth, but specifically the plight of youth in any community
and/or circumstance, is what focuses strategic direction, planning and all service
and programme development and implementation within Girls and Boys TownSouth Africa
Holism and inclusivity are the building blocks of success – Any system or structure (education/school, family, social circumstance, professional, etc) that in any way impacts on or influences a young person’s healthy growth, development or achievement of potential is what centres all Girls and Boys Town initiatives,
programmes and services on a regional and/or national level.

You are only as strong as your weakest link – Creating opportunities for youth to succeed, and ensuring the likelihood of youth success, requires that young people are supported by strong, reliable, functional and enduring systems and structures (school, family, etc) as they face, and learn to cope with, their challenging lives and circumstances.

All people are unique and individual as beings (strengths, capacity, resilience, etc.) and in terms of their
circumstances and challenges. Thus, they require access to unique service options that are selected and
matched to unique circumstances and needs, and support and develop each person individually and effectively – where access to and use of one Girls and Boys Town service/programme forms a basic foundation and building block for the next – whether service users/beneficiaries are children and youth themselves, parents, educators, Girls and Boys Town staff, other professionals or corporate/other organisational staff or teams.



Sport offers a healthy outlet for energy

Each child has different interests and talents

Girls at the Alpha Family Home in Cape Town



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