• Lynette Rossouw School Social Work, Western Cape Education Department, Cape Town, South Africa & PhD student, Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.


The focus of this study is on youth care and education centres. These centres were previously known as “schools of industries” and are soon to be renamed “child and youth care centres”. Children and youths are currently referred to these centres via the Children‟s Court in terms of Section 14(4) of the Child Care Act 1983 (Act 74 of 1983) (RSA, 1983). In future the Children‟s Court will refer children and youths in terms of Section 50 of the Children‟s Act 38 of 2005 (RSA, 2005). They can also be referred via the youth court, if the criminal trial is converted into a children‟s court inquiry in terms of Section 254 of the Criminal Procedures Act (Act 51 of 1977) (RSA, 1977 and RSA, 1983). The trial is converted if the magistrate finds extenuating circumstances, in other words, that personal, familial and/or community influences contributed to the child‟s/youth‟s behaviour (RSA, 1977; RSA, 1983). They are referred to the youth care and education centres (YCECs) for a period of two years, but they may be discharged sooner if their progress warrants it


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