A scoping review of children's experiences of residential care settings in the global South

Steven Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Residential Care Settings (RCSs), including orphanages, children's homes, and institutional care, form a significant welfare response in communities across the global South. Given their scale, central role in welfare provision, and the potential harms to children and young people who live in them, a greater understanding of their functions, circumstances, and how they are conceptualised and experienced by children is critical. This scoping review explores available peer-reviewed articles on children's experiences of residential care settings in the global South. A comprehensive search of ten databases was conducted, and 27 articles included in the review. The study finds that models of RCSs are diverse and highly contextual, with children articulating distinct experiences and perspectives of RCSs in the global South. Children express generally positive views towards their RCSs, emphasising a highly relational life, with large peer networks and community connections. They also draw attention to the material benefits of RCSs in comparison to prior care with family, and educative opportunities that they provide. Challenges include maintaining relationships with family, constraints on their agency in day-to-day life, as well as navigating disruption around identity and belonging, indicating clear areas for policy and practice development that may improve family relationality and reduce social exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104448
Number of pages14
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Residential care
  • Orphanage
  • Institutional care
  • Children & young people
  • Out-of-home care

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