Centre to keep youth out of trouble opens in Tampines

A centre that aims to help troubled youth well before they end up on the wrong side of the law was launched by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Mr Masagos Zulkifli in Tampines on Tuesday.

The centre will be the base from which youth workers, part of a $1.2 million pilot programme that reaches out to youth-at-risk, fan out to neighbourhoods in the North East district.

Called YouthGo!, the youth outreach programme is modelled after well-established street outreach services available overseas, such as in Hong Kong. It is overseen by the inter-ministry Central Youth Guidance Office.

Youth workers head out to the streets to hotspots where youths congregate to befriend and hang out with them. The idea is for help to be delivered in an informal and flexible way. The workers will then work closely with the police, schools and other social groups to come up with an action plan for these troubled youth.

They target youth aged between 12 and 21 - from school dropouts to students with high absenteeism rates - as well as reach out to those who are not in or who have dropped out of existing youth support programmes.

The pilot programme, run by voluntary welfare organisation Care Corner Singapore, started in January last year and has observed some 2,700 youths since then. It will also be rolled out to three other districts in Singapore by next year.