Girls & Boys Town, South Africa ­ hope for children and their parents - programmes

By: Girls and Boys Town  11-11-2011
Keywords: Educators, Residential Care


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 eight 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.• Four 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 selfgovernance by youth.

 Training and Education Service Division – provides:
Structured training workshops, via two national Training and Resource Centres (that provide training services in their regions and surrounding provinces) to parents (Common-sense Parenting), educators (Education Model – having trained over 200 schools), and all professionals working in the field (Consultation and Care Models).

Direct youth education services via four national Girls and Boys Town operated Protem Units (small intensive “remediation” class settings) for learners who are struggling in mainstream educational classes, either due to educational/remedial difficulties or challenging classroom behaviours (thus at risk of losing their school placements). The intention of “Protem” (meaning “in the meantime”) is to mainstream these learners, back to the school from which they were initially referred, as soon as possible following intervention. These specialist units will also admit learners from community-based schools that have completed the Girls and Boys Town Well-managed Classroom workshop. Family Services Division – The Girls and Boys Town national mobile Family Services Units comprise family workers who work directly with families in all communities, including the most deprived, in ensuring stronger family relationships and bonds and avoiding family disintegration and separations. The uniqueness being that Family Workers are no longer office bound – they meet families where they are, provide them with the necessary motivation and skills they need to rediscover their strengths and empower them in reclaiming responsibility for their futures. This team also facilitates regional multi-disciplinary assessment panels – assessing the needs of youth and families (referred via the State, agencies, Girls and Boys Town Hotline or self-referrals) – and then “matched” to an appropriate Girls and Boys Town service option or, where necessary, to an external service.

 Quality Assurance and Research Division – This nationally functioning team is charged with the responsibility of being guardians of the quality, integrity and effectiveness of all Girls and Boys Town models, services and programmes. Thus, “is implementation what we and others intended?” and “are we doing what we say we do?” – a focus on practitioners and programme operations. These activities include comprehensive annual assessments of implementation (process) and outcomes (multiple data sources). This developing and evolving division is also responsible for researching needs and effectiveness – these results, in turn, directly influence, inform and impact on Girls and Boys Town programme and service developments, adaptations and relevance to service beneficiaries. The work of this division is considered critical since it is Girls and Boys Town’s intention to offer the highest levels of service excellence in as professional and accountable manner as possible.

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 50-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.

Keywords: Educators, Residential Care

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Girls & Boys Town, South Africa ­ hope for children and their parents - news

Girls and Boys Town has changed significantly since the appointment of the new CEO, Lee Loynes in 2007, and in 2008 the services were restructured and four divisions – Residential, Training and Education, Family Services and Evaluation and Research were formed in order to increase the benefits to youth, Family and Community.