Young people raised in residential care settings are more vulnerable to poor mental health than peers in the general population. Resilience can protect mental health and promote recovery from adversity. The lack of a single clear conceptualization of resilience reflects its complex, multifaceted nature, but creates obstacles for measurement in this population. This review explored the conceptualization, operationalization and measurement of resilience in children and adolescents living in residential care settings. Databases were investigated up to November 2017 and fifteen studies were included. Among the resilience-related factors found, those promoting interpersonal relationships and development of a future focus and motivation were particularly noticeable. Overall, adolescents in residential care were reported as being more vulnerable and presenting more problems compared to peers. Higher levels of resilience were associated with better developmental outcomes. Recommendations are made to systematically include and evaluate resilience promoting design and interventions in residential care settings.