Young People with Fewer Opportunities


In Youth Coop we use the definition provided by Salto-Youth:

«Young people with fewer opportunities are young people that are at a disadvantage compared to their peers because they face one or more of the situations and obstacles mentioned in the non-exhaustive list below.

In certain contexts, these situations or obstacles prevent young people from having effective access to formal and non-formal education, transnational mobility and participation, active citizenship, empowerment and inclusion in society at large.»

Source: Salto-Youth

What type of Obstacles?

Participants with fewer opportunities can fall on multiple typologies:

Social obstacles

– Discrimination –  young people facing discrimination or under-representation because of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

– Risk Behaviours – young people with limited social skills or anti-social or risky sexual behaviours, (ex)offenders, (ex)drug or alcohol abusers;

– Situation of Risk or Distress – young and/or single parents, orphans, young people from broken families; victims of abandonment, domestic violence, bullying or sexual abuse; young people living in very precarious situations or homeless;

Economic obstacles

Economical Issues – young people with a very low standard of living, very low income, strong dependence on social welfare system, poverty, young people who are homeless due economic issues, young people in debt or with financial problems.

– Employment Issues – young people not studying or working (NEET) or individuals in long-term unemployment (more than a year).

Disabilities and Health problems

– Mental disabilities (intellectual, cognitive, learning)

Physical and sensory disabilities or other disabilities

– Light Health Problems: intolerances, health issues, chronic health problems and mental conditions that may affect their daily life.

– Severe Health Problems: young people with chronic health problems, severe illnesses, psychiatric conditions, mental health problems, suicide, etc.;

Educational difficulties

– Learning issues – young people with learning difficulties or poor school performance;

Lack of compulsory education –  adult young people that did not finish the compulsory education, early school-leavers or school dropouts (based on the school-leaving age and from compulsory secondary education).

Cultural differences

– Immigrant/Refugee –  young immigrants or refugees or descendants from immigrant or refugee families, cultural inclusion problems, etc.

– Minorities – young people belonging to (under-represented) a minority because of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

Geographical obstacles

– Geographic isolation: young people from remote or rural areas, living on small islands, abandoned villages or peripheral regions (far away from urban areas!)

– Problematic areas: young people from urban problem zones or from less serviced areas (limited public transport, poor facilities)

Adapted from: Salto-Youth

Children or Young People in Distress Situations

In the Portuguese context, we also include the definition of Children and Youth in Distress Situation, usually includes the children and youth under the care of the Social Security Institute or identified by the local Commissions for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Children or young people are considered to be in distress or danger when they are affected by at least one of the following situations:

  • Those abandoned or living on their own means;
  • Those who suffers physical or psychological maltreatment or are victim of sexual abuse;
  • Do not receive care or affection appropriated to their age and personal situation;
  • Those in care of third parties, during a period of time in which a strong connection with the same third parties is observed and simultaneously the parents did not exercise their parental functions;
  • Those subjected to excessive or inappropriate work to their age, dignity and personal situation, also includes situations that are detrimental to their training or development;
  • Those subjected, directly or indirectly, to behaviours that seriously affect their safety or their emotional balance;
  • Those subjected or engaged in activities or consumption behaviours that seriously affect their health, safety, training, education or development where the parents or the legal guardian are not capable to control or oppose them.


The Social Security Institute provide the following responses for children or young people in situation of distress:

  • Family Support and Parental Counselling Center (CAFAP);
  • Street Team to Support Children and Youth;
  • Host Families;
  • Temporary Shelter;
  • Home for Children and Youth;
  • Autonomization Apartment;

Source: Segurança Social