Thematic Brief: Residential Care Service Transition

Transforming Children's Care Collaborative

The transition of individual residential care services for children is a critical part of child protection and care systems reform. It is one of several critical measures required of governments to implement commitments made at the international level to phase out the institutionalization of children and reorientate the system towards family-based care.1 To support the scaling up of transitioning residential care services, and to ensure it is done in a manner that is safe, effective and puts children’s best interests first, certain factors need to be in place at the system level to create enabling conditions for transition. Factors include clear legislation and policy frameworks, guidance and Standard Operating Procedures, data management system and adequate human and financial resources, including for monitoring and evaluation and technical support. Providing such support is essential to the safe reintegration of children currently in residential care, and the effective redirection of resources towards the development of community-based services that support family care. 

Components of Care


This thematic brief was developed to support governments develop frame-works conducive to the transition of residential care services, as part of a comprehensive care reform initiative, pursuant to international commitments to phase out institutionalization, including the UN General Assembly Rights of the Child Resolution 2019.2 

Summary of Content:

The brief contains high-level guidance and recommendations for policy and decision-makers and development partners to consider in designing frameworks to scale up, coordinate and support the transition of individual residential care services. It includes: 

  1. Key policy statements fundamental to achieving change, 
  2. Concrete steps to drive implementation while keeping the best interests of the child at the centre of the process, and 
  3. Practical examples from diverse contexts. 

Additional Case Studies and Resources:

To access learning on other important aspects of transitioning residential care services included in this brief please click on the links below: 

Estimating the cost of transitioning residential care services

Redirecting financial and human resources to family and community services

To explore residential care service transition in further depth, or to access the resources referenced throughout this document please click on the following links: 

Transforming Children's Care Collaborative Thematic Briefs Series: