Our history

St. Michael’s Children’s Home (as it was previously known) was founded in Keerom Street in Cape Town in 1870 as a refuge for children orphaned by the war of the times. The Grey Ladies, who founded the Home, were also responsible for the foundation of the Leliebloem House, St. George’s Home for Girls, and St. Cyprian’s School. After several moves, St. Michael’s Home – then renamed All Saints Home – relocated to the current premises in Plumstead in 1954.

St. Michael’s is currently known as St. Michael’s Child and Youth Care Centre and accommodates 25 young women between the ages of 13 and 18 years. There have been many changes over time as the field of child and youth care has extended its parameters and professionalized.

A child and youth care centre offers youth a group living experience and the group is used therapeutically as a microcosm of the much larger group of people which makes up the wider community.

Social context

In South Africa, the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider. Provision of housing, improved infrastructure, and better service delivery have now met the needs of many South Africans, but crime, violence and abuse have reached concerning levels and violations against children and young women are unprecedented. A study by HSRC indicates that children are subjected to high incidence of maltreatment and violence.

Employment is a major problem for some communities, despite recent levels of growth over the last five years. Leadership in South Africa and elsewhere in the world is not providing the directions or inspiration sought after by young people around the world. Globalisation has consequences for every local community whether urban or rural. Food prices have escalated drastically with the rise of the oil price, volatile financial markets worldwide and imbalance between global food requirements and actual production. There are so many challenges facing young people in South Africa and even more those children who come from families that have been broken down.

The social and economic environment where many of these young girls live is one of poverty with high levels of unemployment, poor facilities and disturbing levels of crime, substance abuse, and child abuse. In many cases, the family unit has broken down and parents are unable to provide a stable and caring environment for their children. Young people in these circumstances have lost trust in their parents and in most cases do not have an attachment figure that is dependable, reliable and caring.

The trauma experienced by young women at St. Michael’s is devastating. These young girls were seriously neglected, abused and abandoned. St. Michael’s Child and Youth Care Centre offer young girls a place of safety, support and care aligned with the policy, practice and principles of child and youth care in South Africa.