Residential Care

Residential care refers to any group living arrangement where children are looked after by paid staff in a specially designated facility. It covers a wide variety of settings ranging from emergency shelters and small group homes, to larger-scale institutions such as orphanages or children’s homes. As a general rule, residential care should only be provided on a temporary basis, for example while efforts are made to promote family reintegration or to identify family based care options for children. In some cases however, certain forms of residential care can operate as a longer-term care solution for children.

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Cristina Soriano-Díaz, Juan Manuel Moreno-Manso, María Elena García-Baamonde, Mónica Guerrero-Molina, Pilar Cantillo-Cordero,

This paper studies the emotional and behavioural difficulties and the personal wellbeing of adolescents under protective measures in Spain. 


This is a recording of a UNICEF webinar presenting the launch of a global database of children in residential care on December 14, 2022.

Related content: 

Sandra Creamera, Suzi Blairb, Maree Toombs, Claire E Brolan,

This study aims to provide evidence and instruction to social work educators, policymakers and practitioners
in Australia’s child protection, wellbeing, and justice systems about why and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organizations are best placed to lead out-of-home care service delivery for Indigenous children, their family and community.

Changing the Way We Care în parteneriat cu CCF Moldova, Keystone Moldova and Partnerships for Every Child,

În 2021-2022, CTWWC în parteneriat cu trei organizații ale societății civile: Keystone Moldova, Copil, Comunitate, Familie (CCF Moldova) și Asociația Parteneriate pentru Fiecare Copil (P4EC), a realizat o serie de cercetări la nivel național, inclusiv evaluarea complexă a șase instituții rezidențiale (IR).

Changing the Way We Care in partnership with CCF Moldova, Keystone Moldova and Partnerships for Every Child,

During 2021-2022, Changing the Way We Care in partnership with three civil society institutions: Keystone Moldova, Child, Community and Family (CCF Moldova) and Partnerships for Every Child (P4EC), conducted a series of assessments on the national level, including a complex evaluation of six residential institutions (RI).

Hope and Homes for Children,

This Hope and Homes for Children publication provides critical lessons learned, practical evidence and recommendations to support global, regional and national decision makers to build political will, strategies, policies, and target funding to transform care systems.

Yasodha Maheshi Rohanachandraa, Kurukula Arachchige Sarangi Dilrukshi Nanayakkara, Santhrasulochana Vipulanandan,

There is evidence that children in residential care institutions (RCI) have higher rates of psychological problems, suicide and criminal behaviour. There is only one study in Sri Lanka which has examined the psychological well-being of children in RCIs. This study aims to provide further evidence to formulate policies related to the mental health of institutionalized children in the local context.

Susan Baidawi, Rubini Ball,

Children placed in residential care are significantly over-represented in youth justice systems. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with service providers, this exploratory study examines practice factors that impact on the criminalization of this group of children across multiple services and systems, including in the residential care environment, police, lawyers, courts and youth justice systems, as well as multi-systems practice with this group in one Australian state.

Ane Slaatto, Lise Cecilie Kleppe, Anneli V. Mellblom, Gunn Astrid Baugerud,

Several youth facilities have devoted considerable resources to improving the quality of practice and the interest in understanding the safety needs of youth in residential care has grown. However, there is limited research that considers how youth in residential facilities themselves define and experience safety, what their safety concerns are, and how they would like systems and staff to respond to their needs. Therefore, this current study investigated youth perceptions of safety in residential facilities in Norway and their experiences of and reaction to staff behaviors and attitudes.

Süheyla Seker, Cyril Boonmann, Delfine d’Huart, David Bürgin, Klaus Schmeck, Nils Jenkel, Martin Steppan, Alexander Grob, Hilma Forsman, Jörg M. Fegert, Marc Schmid,

Child welfare and juvenile justice placed youths show high levels of psychosocial burden and high rates of mental disorders. It remains unclear how mental disorders develop into adulthood in these populations. The aim of this study, based on adolescents in Swiss residential care, was to present the rates of mental disorders in adolescence and adulthood in child welfare and juvenile justice samples and to examine their mental health trajectories from adolescence into adulthood.