Italy – Coming of age in a community for minors. The solidarity campaign of "Salesians for Social"

07 March 2024

(ANS – Rome) – "Turning 18 for most young people is an eagerly awaited milestone, but for young people accepted into communities for minors it is a time of great anxiety and concern, because coming of age determines the end of many protection and support activities." Francesco Preite, President of Salesians for Social, an association which has spent 30 years alongside children and young people in fragile situations, stresses this as it launches an appeal to strengthen support services for young adults: "we cannot leave these young people alone, since they find themselves alone and without the protections guaranteed up until the day before. They are not yet adults, but they are already called upon to get by on their own.”

Children who leave the child protection systems (care leavers) when they reach the age of majority must add the burden of having to be totally autonomous in the already difficult situation that young people are experiencing at this time. According to the ISTAT report on Fair and Sustainable Well-being, in recent years young people between 14 and 24 years have seen 43% of the indicators considered worsen.

Autonomy for these young people means first of all having a job, which is not obvious in a country where youth unemployment is at 20.1% (although improving compared to the past) and the NEETs phenomenon (young people who do not study and do not work) records numbers that are among the highest in all of Europe. In 2022, the NEET's rate was more than 7 percentage points higher than the European average and second only to Romania: in Italy, 1 in 5 young people between the ages of 15 and 29 did not study or work.

To try to respond to this situation, accompanying new adults welcomed into housing communities and young people who come from situations of hardship and fragility, Salesians for Social is promoting work and professional integration paths which support thousands of young people every year, many of whom are in the most fragile outskirts. Salesians for for Social gives them an opportunity: in Bari – for example – it has created a Catering Academy, in Palermo it offers professional courses in refrigeration/air conditioners and for electric welders, in Vallecrosia (IM) it promotes artisan workshops.

"These last years have been particularly difficult for the young people" Fr Francesco Preite continiues. "We have been working with and for them for decades, and since the pandemic we have noticed an increase in distress, in the difficulties that young people face in many aspects of their lives: work, relationship, psychological issues. Today more than ever they need us to be by their side, helping them to build their own way."

In order to continue offering support and hospitality to children and young people who are alone or in a fragile situation, Salesians for Social has launched a fundraising campaign with a solidarity number to call: until 30 March it is possible to contribute by donating with a text message or landline call to 45598. In particular, through the funds raised, the activities of some Salesian settings in difficult neighbourhoods of cities such as Palermo, Naples, Rome and Genoa, and support for unaccompanied foreign minors will be strengthened and improved.

For more information you can visit the website:


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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