This article describes the 1‐year outcomes of youth transitioning out of a residential care facility in South Africa. Those outcomes are compared with both national data on youth in the general population and care leavers from the United Kingdom. Analysis of the outcomes of 52 care leavers showed that they had fairly secure accommodation, low levels of homelessness, and low levels of criminal involvement and substance abuse. However, care leavers were particularly vulnerable in their educational attainment and employment outcomes and ran the risk of being not in employment, education or training. This has economic and psychological consequences for youth, who are then forced to rely on others for their livelihood and it can increase their feelings of depression, isolation, and despondency. Results from this study provide insight into the challenges and needs of young people transitioning out of residential care, which provides guidance on what to prioritize for practice. This research has implications not only for improving the understanding of care leaving in South Africa and Africa, but also for the existing knowledge based on research internationally.