Experiences of Child and Youth Care Workers in Managing Challenging Behaviours of Young People in Residential Care in South Africa





child and youth care workers, young people, behavioural interventions, challenging behaviour


Managing the behaviour of young people is one of the critical roles of child and youth care workers working in child and youth care centres. However, these child and youth care workers have been found to be facing numerous challenges in their line of work which make it difficult to effectively provide behavioural interventions to young people in their care. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of child and youth care workers when dealing with challenging behaviours of young people in residential care in eThekwini, South Africa. This study followed an exploratory research design that employed a qualitative research methodology. Three child and youth care centres were selected through purposive sampling from a population of such centres located in the eThekwini region in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results of thematic analysis indicate that child and youth care workers do experience difficulties in managing children’s challenging behaviour, viz. (1) experiences of working with young people; (2) insufficient supervision and support; (3) conflicts of behavioural intervention strategies; and (4) limited resources to support behavioural change in young people. Understanding these experiences is crucial for developing empowerment programmes (including strategies for countering the challenges) for child and youth care workers, which will ensure that young people receive comprehensive, optimal care. Support could include empowering child and youth care workers with skills and knowledge as well as the essential resources to effectively provide behavioural intervention for the young people in their care.


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How to Cite

Dewa, Sindisiwe, Shanaz Ghuman, and Fathima Bibi Dewan. 2024. “Experiences of Child and Youth Care Workers in Managing Challenging Behaviours of Young People in Residential Care in South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 36 (2):16 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2708-9355/14355.



Received 2023-08-11
Accepted 2024-05-10
Published 2024-06-11