The perspectives of marginalised young men on what they value in relationships with social care workers are under-researched and have not received adequate attention within policy and practice literatures. Moreover, problematic assumptions about gender pervade much political and cultural commentary. Research findings from a study of 50 young men, aged between 16 and 25, attending a range of social care services, are highly significant in this context. They highlight young men's investment in a language of care and respect and their rejection of categorical presumptions. However, the services were steeped in practices and understandings of their marginalisation and offered important opportunities for recognition.