An Exploration of the Educational Preparedness for Practice Experiences of Child and Youth Care Workers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa




behaviour management, child and youth care, integration of theory and practice, child and youth care workers, preparedness, practice experiences, challenges in care


The number of young people admitted to child and youth care centres is constantly increasing in South Africa. These are young people who might have experienced extreme trauma related to abuse, neglect, abandonment, family dysfunction, loss of a parent or caregiver, or those with behavioural challenges and therefore in need of residential care. Child and youth care workers are trained to assist and care for them. The provision of this care presupposes key tasks with behaviour management being one of them. In this study, we explored the adequacy and efficacy of training offered to child and youth care workers and their preparedness to successfully cope with their behaviour management tasks. It focused on the educational preparation of child and youth care workers to assist young people with behaviour management challenges in child and youth care centres. A qualitative approach with an exploratory, descriptive, and contextual design was used in this study. The population comprised child and youth care workers in KwaZulu-Natal who are working in residential child and youth care centres, and the sample size was suspended at 21 participants because of data saturation. A semi-structured interview guide was used to conduct individual telephonic interviews to collect data. The data collected were analysed using Tesch’s eight steps of analysis. In this study, we found that the main gap was in integrating and applying theory and practice resulting in difficulties to manage tasks relating to young people’s challenging behaviours.


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Author Biography

Maureen Nokuthula Sibiya, Mangosuthu University of Technology

Durban University of Technology

DVC: Teaching and Learning


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How to Cite

Mkhize, Lindelwa, Maureen Nokuthula Sibiya, and Thobile Hlengwa. 2022. “An Exploration of the Educational Preparedness for Practice Experiences of Child and Youth Care Workers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34:18 pages.
Received 2022-01-26
Accepted 2022-08-26
Published 2022-12-22