Residential Care of Children and Young People

A special issue of Youth (ISSN 2673-995X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 5986

Special Issue Editors

Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS), School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XQ, Scotland, UK
Interests: care experience; education of care experienced young people and adults; young people’s health and wellbeing; history of children’s care

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Guest Editor Assistant
Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS), School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XQ, Scotland, UK
Interests: physical restraint; throughcare and aftercare; child development; trauma

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Guest Editor Assistant
Kibble Education and Care Centre, Goudie Street, Paisley PA3 2LG, Scotland, UK
Interests: trauma; self-harm; residential care; psychological consultation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite submissions for this Special Issue of Youth, titled "Residential Care of Children and Young People".

Residential or group care for children and young people has faced serious criticism and its importance has become diminished in many countries, in comparison with family-type care settings; this criticism is a result of the traumatic care experiences of children in orphanages and other large institutions, testimonies of historic abuse associated with institutional care, concerns for the rights of children deprived of liberty, policy trends favouring deinstitutionalisation, and reports of substandard care in contemporary institutions.

However, family-type care settings do not suit all children, for example, those who do not want what may appear to be offered as an alternative to their own family, or who wish to stay along with siblings, which is not always possible where foster carers have space for only one child. Campus-based residential care facilities also have advantages, which include access to a range of services such as specialist therapies, education, health, and sport facilities.

In this Special Issue, we are particularly interested in accounts of work concerning high-quality group care; creating residential settings specifically designed for the purpose of caring for children who have experienced pre-care trauma; the formation of and support for the care workforce; studies of histories of residential care; and research about including the voice of young people in designing and providing care services.

We will be pleased to receive original research articles, reviews, commentaries on policies and practice, and long-form essays reflecting on residential care or aspects of related policy and practice. Potential topic areas may include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Trauma-informed residential care;
  • Physical design of group care settings;
  • Everyday residential care provision;
  • Therapeutic provisions in residential settings;
  • Promoting education and wider achievement in group care settings;
  • Health and wellbeing in residential settings, including support for mental health;
  • Supporting disabled children in residential care;
  • Promoting sibling relationships;
  • Supporting parents and caregivers;
  • The role of and support for the workforce;
  • Management and governance in children’s residential care;
  • Listening to children and young people and promoting their agency;
  • Blue-sky thinking about quality in children’s residential care provision;
  • Relationships between residential care and other forms of care provision (g., family foster care, kinship care);
  • International comparisons.

Dr. Graham Connelly
Guest Editor

Sarah Deeley
Dan Johnson
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Youth is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • residential care
  • group care
  • care experience
  • trauma-informed care
  • childhood
  • youth justice
  • care and education
  • care experienced history
  • children’s voice
  • residential care workforce

Published Papers (6 papers)

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16 pages, 301 KiB  
Article
Charting the 21st Century Rise of For-Profit Residential Child Care
Youth 2024, 4(1), 272-287; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4010019 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 406
Abstract
This article explores the increasing prevalence of for-profit residential care, with a particular focus on Great Britain, while also drawing on the international evidence from the Global North. Comprising a critical review of the published evidence (both academic and grey literature), the article [...] Read more.
This article explores the increasing prevalence of for-profit residential care, with a particular focus on Great Britain, while also drawing on the international evidence from the Global North. Comprising a critical review of the published evidence (both academic and grey literature), the article seeks to examine what might explain the rising prevalence of and the possible associated impacts of the increase in for-profit provision. The findings indicate that the rise of for profit-companies among residential child care providers appears to have occurred by default, rather than explicit policy design. Our analysis also highlights gaps in the knowledge base about the quality of care and whether better quality is associated with the type of provider. Furthermore, the relationships between provider, quality, cost and outcomes are unclear. There are inconsistencies in the evidence base, with different conclusions being reached. However, available evidence tends to suggest the increased prevalence of for-profit residential child care providers has had an overall negative, rather than positive, effect. The best case in favour of the continued use of for-profit residential care is currently a non-moral pragmatic one: that in countries with medium and high prevalence of the use of residential child care, it would be hard to sustain care systems if for-profit providers were to suddenly withdraw or be withdrawn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Residential Care of Children and Young People)
14 pages, 239 KiB  
Article
Navigating Fragmented Infrastructures of Care: Children’s Sense of Home in Residential Education
Youth 2024, 4(1), 149-162; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4010011 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 291
Abstract
Residential education often both challenges and reinforces the norms and systems supporting children and young people’s need for homely environments. In this context, studies on pupils’ sense of home when attending residential schools provide a ground for exploring broader infrastructures of care available [...] Read more.
Residential education often both challenges and reinforces the norms and systems supporting children and young people’s need for homely environments. In this context, studies on pupils’ sense of home when attending residential schools provide a ground for exploring broader infrastructures of care available to them as they move through different spaces. Drawing on autoethnography, life-story interviews, and semi-structured interviews, we illustrate how, for children within the Latvian residential school system, homeliness may be found at a relative’s apartment, school bus or youth center affected by how each of the spaces relates to children’s safety and control, privacy, community, identity, everyday life, and time. While normative discourses remain fixated on home as a family space where infrastructures of care can be limited, but educational settings emphasize control as a measure for safety without being attentive to peer-to-peer relationships, children’s agency in achieving a sense of homeliness becomes fragmented and stronger in some places more than others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Residential Care of Children and Young People)
15 pages, 271 KiB  
Article
Does Group Size of Provision Matter for Children Who Experience Residential Group Care in Scotland?
Youth 2023, 3(4), 1391-1405; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth3040087 - 04 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1692
Abstract
It is widely recognised that trauma-informed care is fundamental to meeting the needs of children who experience residential care. Service design is central to this, and the aim of this article is to illustrate the experiences of 13 young people who have lived [...] Read more.
It is widely recognised that trauma-informed care is fundamental to meeting the needs of children who experience residential care. Service design is central to this, and the aim of this article is to illustrate the experiences of 13 young people who have lived within group care settings, to highlight how a service’s capacity can impact on children’s needs being met. Using findings from a PhD thesis engaging 18–29-year-olds in Scotland, the research used a mixed methodological approach of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to elicit young people’s retrospective care experiences. The findings show that the number of children within a setting can adversely affect the feeling of being emotionally and practically supported, resulting in some children feeling that their needs were not fully met. This will offer insight to practitioners, managers and decision makers who are engaged in the delivery and development of children’s services. Background: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) articles 3, 9 and 20 and Scotland’s Independent Care Review state what children should expect from authorities and services responsible for providing alternative care. The ambition for Scotland’s children is that they “grow up loved, safe, and respected so that (they) realise their full potential”. For those who spend a period of their childhood growing up in residential care, they should experience a relational, trauma-informed and caring approach from staff. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Residential Care of Children and Young People)
16 pages, 670 KiB  
Article
Everyday Care: What Helps Adults Help Children in Residential Childcare?
Youth 2023, 3(4), 1301-1316; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth3040082 - 25 Nov 2023
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Over the last decade, there has been an increasing trend towards the use of ‘therapeutic models’ in residential childcare settings in the U.K. and elsewhere. While some have argued that these developments have been driven, at least in part, by free market funding [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, there has been an increasing trend towards the use of ‘therapeutic models’ in residential childcare settings in the U.K. and elsewhere. While some have argued that these developments have been driven, at least in part, by free market funding environments and organisational survival needs, others have suggested that many of these models, despite some of their theoretical and conceptual differences, offer a useful approach. Drawing on findings from an ethnographic research project in a residential setting in Scotland, we argue that the underlying processes of implementing and embedding a therapeutic model can create conditions that are conducive to the provision of high-quality, effective, relationship-based practice, which has real benefits for children in their everyday worlds. Moreover, we argue that the model itself is somewhat beside the point. If residential organisations can facilitate safe, ongoing opportunities for staff to (a) think deeply about themselves and others (children and staff), (b) practice ways of being and doing, and (c) be seen and valued, then this can contribute to a practice culture and context in which they feel able to create genuine, caring relationships with children. We argue that it is within these everyday, genuine, caring relationships that children can recover from difficult experiences such as neglect and abuse. In this way, the ‘therapeutic’ focus should be primarily directed at the adults to enable children to get on with being children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Residential Care of Children and Young People)
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24 pages, 645 KiB  
Article
“I Don’t Feel Like There’s Enough Awareness about the Damage That Social Media Does”: A Thematic Analysis of the Relationships between Social Media Use, Mental Wellbeing, and Care Experience
Youth 2023, 3(4), 1244-1267; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth3040079 - 09 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1533
Abstract
Social media (SM) has become an unavoidable mode of communication for many young people today, leading to increasing importance in exploring its impact on mental wellbeing. This includes exploring the impact on those who may be more susceptible to developing mental health issues [...] Read more.
Social media (SM) has become an unavoidable mode of communication for many young people today, leading to increasing importance in exploring its impact on mental wellbeing. This includes exploring the impact on those who may be more susceptible to developing mental health issues due to adverse childhood experiences, such as care-experienced young people. This study consisted of 22 semi-structured interviews with young people from the general population (n = 11) and care-experienced young people (n = 11). Thematic analysis revealed varying effects of SM, including positive effects such as entertainment, inspiration, and belongingness. However, other findings indicated that the design of SM is damaging for young people’s wellbeing. Age and developmental maturity appeared as key factors influencing the impact of SM on wellbeing, with the indication of further protective factors such as self-awareness, education, and certain SM design features. Specifically, care-experienced young people expressed how lived experiences of the care system can have both positive and negative effects on SM use while revealing the complex relationship between care experience, SM use, and wellbeing. These results can be used to inform SM design and policy and to provide suggestions for SM and wellbeing education among the general population and care-experienced young people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Residential Care of Children and Young People)
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16 pages, 264 KiB  
Essay
Quality Care in Residential Care and Treatment Settings in North America: From Complex Research to Four Everyday Principles for Practice
Youth 2024, 4(1), 244-259; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4010017 - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Quality is a central topic in contemporary discussions about residential care, and specifically about group or congregate care. Such care settings have been contested in recent years specifically resulting from anecdotal evidence that quality is lacking. To this end, the response has focused [...] Read more.
Quality is a central topic in contemporary discussions about residential care, and specifically about group or congregate care. Such care settings have been contested in recent years specifically resulting from anecdotal evidence that quality is lacking. To this end, the response has focused on the development of quality indicators and standards. In this essay, the author argues that, although such approaches are necessary and have helped to embed evidence-based practices in residential care settings, they are not easily translated into everyday practice. Quality care must mean more than frameworks for care that are governed by professional system designs. Quality care also must include the experiences of young people living life in these settings. To this end, to help with the translation of quality care standards for residential care, the essay presents four core principles that, on the one hand, are familiar and easily translatable for youth workers and social workers in these settings, and on the other hand, honour and are congruent with core elements of almost all evidence-based practice approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Residential Care of Children and Young People)
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