The Community Youth Safety-Net (CYS-Net)
Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Korea Youth Counseling Institute

The Problem

An increasingly growing number of youth have experienced interrupted education due to a variety of reasons, notably financial reasons and/or family dissolution, or are in need of special protection and support from society and government. In particular, the lack of a local security network for youth and the declining role of schools and families in education put at risk numerous adolescents that are tempted to run away from home and commit misdeeds and exposed to the danger of drug addiction and suicide. Capacity building to protect at-risk youth and assist their healthy and wholesome development is critical to ensuring Korea’s sustainable development.

While several government bodies have been carrying out projects and programs to protect adolescents in crisis, the number of such measures was greatly outnumbered by the population of at-risk youth estimated at 1.7 millions. Specifically, the combined capacity of protection facilities could accommodate up to 3,900 adolescents, career experience centers up to 20,000 and alternative schools up to 17,000. As most of these facilities were privately operated, they suffered from insufficient funding and needed support.

Another issue was the lack of a central body or a system of network in charge of overseeing or coordinating policy initiatives and programs for at-risk youth. Different government bodies carried out these responsibilities separately without much coordination, and consequently, many of the services overlapped, while leaving out some of the very adolescents in need. The effectiveness of government policy and programs was questioned, and criticism and mistrust ran high. Rather than trying to find a comprehensive and lasting means of addressing the problem, many of the government bodies competed with one another to introduce a series of short-term stopgap measures, much to the public criticism on the wasted budget and the lack of sincere policy ideas.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The Community Youth Safety-Net (CYS-Net) is a cooperative network of local communities and governmental bodies and organizations for youth and children, with an aim to identify, rescue and treat at-risk youth and assist them to grow into integral and democratic citizens.

The CYS-Net is a comprehensive, “one-stop” service system: a Counseling and Resource Center for Youth (hereinafter as “Center”) will first intervene as the operating agency of the CYS-Net by providing at-risk youth with expert counseling, and institutions, personnel and other resources across local communities will be mobilized in a coordinated manner to provide a wide spectrum of needed services.

A number of modalities are employed to enhance early detection of vulnerable youth and children, including the Youth Call Center (also known as “Help Call 1388”), Mobile Text Counseling Program (reached via #1388 from any mobile phone), and Cyber Counseling Center for Youth ( In order to ensure organic management of local resource networks, each of the 166 Centers nationwide (as of late 2010) is linked with a government body to establish a collaborative Managing Council, under which an Executive Committee (to help carry out the Center’s actual work, including at-risk youth identification) and Support Groups (to promote private volunteers) are in operation as subsidiaries.

This initiative aims at further consolidating and promoting this social security network for youth and children, the central force behind future, to ensure their healthy growth and development at home and in the society at large.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
When the Government Youth Commission, now part the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, was launched in April 2005, the Commission has set out to establish a Community Youth Safety-Net (CYS-Net) as a major policy task. It aimed to establish a one-stop, tailor-made mechanism to support at-risk youth by integrating fragmented and individually operated services in cooperation with government affiliates such as the Office of Education, Policy Agency, Office of Employment and Labor, and schools in the communities. The private sector, including from the National Internet Café Association, National Joint Conference of Taxi Association, Korea Association of Hakwon (private after-schools), Korean Medical Association, and Korean Pharmaceutical Association, has also supplied volunteers for the 1388 Youth Support Group.

Central governmental bodies and local councils played a crucial role in the creation of the CYS-Net, as they not only established and revamped a support mechanism for at-risk youth, but also fostered and spread a culture of cooperation and collaboration amongst relevant bodies and resources. They helped the CYS-Net to take root nationwide.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The CYS-Net aims at enhancing the youth support process in local communities to effectively address the growing challenges facing at-risk youth. After deliberations amongst government ministries, academic professors and field experts, the following three strategies are formulated:
1. This service delivery network builds on consultations with relevant government bodies:
 Central Agencies - the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF), which is the line ministry in supporting at-risk youth, and its affiliated organization, Korea Youth Counseling Institute (KYCI)
 Base Organizations – Metropolitan Councils and City/Provincial Counseling and Resource Center for Youth
 Local Service Providers – Local Councils and City/County/Borough Counseling and Resource Center for Youth
2. The CYS-Net is a three-tiered support network for at-risk youth:
 1st network: mainly composed of Counseling and Resource Centers for Youth, Youth Shelters, Youth Services Center, and Youth Training Centers, supported by the line government agency (then Government Youth Commission)
 2nd network: composed of other public organizations and resources present in local communities, including the Office of Education, schools, local Policy Agency, group homes, Community Health Centers, Office of Employment and Labor and vocational training agencies and organizations
 3rd network: embracing private resources such as religious organizations and civic groups
3. The CYS-Net is tailored to local conditions to ensure the following five characteristics:
 Integration: A comprehensive set of services, including in medicine, legal consultation, education, employment and leisure, are provided to meet the needs of at-risk youth.
 Immediacy: Services are provided without delay.
 Convenience: Services are easy to receive and utilize, regardless of time and location.
 Sustainability: Services are provided in a sustainable manner.
 Expertise: Professional services of high quality are provided.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The CYS-Net initiative was first launched by the Government Youth Commission in 2005. Although the initiative changed hands several times as a result of governmental reorganization, it has been consistently carried out as a pivotal policy to support at-risk youth. The initial period of the initiative, 2005-2006, focused on the construction of a large-scale network: the infrastructure base expanded through networking with relevant organizations and a culture of cooperation was fostered.

 2007: Stabilization Period
 Secured budget in order to expand the CYS-Net to the city/county/borough level, covering beyond the 16 cities and provinces.
 Continued expanding the infrastructure base in cooperation with relevant organizations.
 Focused on substantial operation by sharing information and lessons from previous networking efforts with relevant organizations.

 2008: 1ST Activation Period
 Sought to identify the suitable type of CYS-Net given each region’s size and character.
 Compared to 2007, 13 additional CYS-Net centers at the city/county/borough level began operating.
 Increased budget to support the centers.

 2009: 2ND Activation Period
 Focused on stabilizing the operation of the initiative.
 In particular, the Prime Minister’s Ordinance No. 545 (“Regulations on Organization and Operation of Community Youth Safety-Net”) was issued (entered into force on November 27th, 2009) and the Ordinance made the establishment of an inter-agency network compulsory. This helped the CYS-Net take root in local communities.

 2010: 3RD Activation Period
 Focused on the more substantial operation of the CYS-Net.
 A total of 1,403,494 services (related to counseling, medical treatment, protection, legal support, basic living cost and conditions, self-support, remedy for violation of private right and others) were provided through the CYS-Net to 128,426 of at-risk youth. As a result, 908.7 billion KRW of social cost is calculated to have been reduced.

 The Number of Counseling and Resource Center for Youth operating CYS-Net
- 81 (in 2008) -> 97 (in 2009) -> 166 (in 2010) -> 186 (in 2011)

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
>Difficulties in establishing a cooperative structure among concerned organizations
:As the initiative builds on the network of resources in local communities, cooperation of relevant organizations and community resources were needed. To this end, regular meetings have been taking place among concerned agencies and organizations In order to enhance inter-agency coordination and collaboration. Different line agencies further consolidated inter-agency cooperation mechanism by jointly submitting to a Cabinet Council “Policy Measure to Protect and Increase Support for At-Risk Youth” in October 2011.

>Insufficient legal ground for the CYS-Net
:A Prime Minister’s Ordinance was enacted in 2009 to provide more legal ground for the CYS-Net. As of 2011, a revision to the Juvenile Welfare Support Act to make the establishment of CYS-Net mandatory is pending at the National Assembly.

>Diversification of problems surrounding at-risk youth
:Since the launch of the CYS-Net initiative, new types of at-risk youth have been identified, including the adolescents with interrupted education, young Internet addicts and at-risk youth from multicultural background. Accordingly, a variety of measures tailored to the specific needs of different at-risk youth to address the diversity of issues. Examples include “Rescue School,” a residential program to treat Internet addiction, and “DoDream Zone,” a support project for youth with interrupted education to promote their financial, social and psychological independence.

>Challenges in early identification of at-risk youth
:The very nature of at-risk youth prevents their early detection. A comprehensive counseling mechanism is established by increasing the range and number of possible contact points through the operation of Youth Call centers (since 2005), mobile text counseling programs (since 2006) and cyber counseling centers for youth (since 2011). Since November 1st, 2011, three major mobile communication companies jointly decided not charge calls made from cell phones to a Youth Call center to remove the financial burden of using the service.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
>Operating Agencies
:Counseling and Resource Centers for Youth across the nation (a total of 166, as of the end of 2010) are the operating agency for the Initiative, whereas the local councils are empowered by the Framework Act on Juveniles to establish and manage the centers. The Government seeks to ensure that not only 16 metropolitan cities and provinces but also each city/county/borough hosts a Counseling and Resource Center for Youth in its jurisdiction to make the Centers more available to youth by 2013. To this end, the Government has included the number of the Center within the jurisdiction as an indicator when evaluating the performance of local governments.

>Financial Resources
:Counseling and Resource Centers for Youth ensure that CYS-Net initiative is funded equally by national and local government. As the number of Centers increases nationwide, efforts are made at the governmental level to match the budget.

>Human Resources
:A minimum of 5 to 6 personnel is assigned to a Center at the city/province level, and a minimum of 3 to 4 personnel to a Center at the city/county/borough level. A collaborative managing council has been in operation, composed of relevant organizations in the network, including labor and employment offices and agencies, hospitals, educational facilities. Subsidiaries are formed as well, including the 1388 Support Group to mobilize private volunteers, the School Support Group to strengthen cooperation with schools, and an executive committee to carry out the practical work of the Center.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
First test-operated in 2006, the CYS-Net Initiative has grown in budget and personnel, with continued improvements in performance as well as outcome.

This result owes to the efforts to institutionalize the CYS-Net by laying its legal foundation and to the fact that the Initiative was carried out as a policy initiative at the level of national government to ensure that CYS-Nets are simultaneously established across the nation. Voluntary participation from private organizations has also helped the initiative to take root in the society. In addition, the CYS-Net Initiative builds on the traditional spirit of mutual help, which is considered to have appealed to community-oriented members of Korean society.

The CYS-Net Initiative was modeled after by several other governmental initiatives. Notable examples include the WEE (“We” + ”Emotion”) Project, launched by the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, to assist students in school life, and the “Local Solidarities for Women and Children,” by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, to support women and children.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The success of the CYS-Net Initiative lies on the fact that it has sought to utilize existing resources by revamping and enhancing the service delivery mechanism for at-risk youth, rather than uncovering new resources. This has enabled the construction of nationwide network on a moderate budget.

Another element of success is the private-public cooperative nature of the Initiative. Private expert groups are principal actors in charge of carrying out the Initiative, while relevant government bodies focus on securing budget and laying out legal ground for the Initiative. This system has facilitated the synergy of government’s strategic thinking and private experts’ professional approach, thereby ensuring stable operation and development of the CYS-Nets.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Korea Youth Counseling Institute
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Bok-sil Lee
Title:   Assistant Minister of the Youth&Family Policy Off.  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-2-2075-8621/82-2-2075-4772
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   6th Floor, Premier Place Bldg. Cheonggyechonno 8, Jung-Gu
Postal Code:   100-777
City:   Seoul
State/Province:   Seoul

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