Article 40 © copyright to the Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape

From scars to stars

Ms C Morata

Parents struggle to cope with children with uncontrolled behaviour. It happens that they come and ask the social workers to send their children away. Because some of these children end up committing crimes, the officials of the centre decided to start with programmes with these children. Social workers, schools and parents are referring these children to the one-stop centre for services.

Background Information On The Target Group

There have been 280 cases on the register since January 2002 involving both girls and boys. Most of the participants are between the ages of 14 and 17 years.

Kinds of problem behaviour noted include:



From Scars To Stars

The programme we call From Scars to Stars is utilised both as a community-based programme and as a diversion programme for children in conflict with the law. This programme encourages children to be positive in life and attempts to boost their self-esteem. The programme also covers the following aspects:

The children are also taught that conflict is part of life and efforts are made to teach them to handle conflict without emotional outbursts and without hurting other people.

The programme involves group-work sessions and role-playing.



The success rate of the programme is difficult to measure. Out of the 280 cases handled, 70 ended up being in conflict with the law. But again, it is possible that more children would have become involved in crime if they had not participated in the above programme.

It has been realised that it is no use motivating children to change their behaviour if the parents do not co-operate and also change their behaviour. Many children come from broken homes or homes where alcohol abuse, domestic violence and family conflict occur. We are therefore in the process of involving the parents in programmes as well.