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Perceptions of Children in Residential Care Homes: A Critical Review of the Literature

Steels, Stephanie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8603-9069 and Simpson, Harriet (2017) Perceptions of Children in Residential Care Homes: A Critical Review of the Literature. The British Journal of Social Work, 47 (6). pp. 1704-1722. ISSN 0045-3102

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Abstract

In England, UK, there has been an overall decline in the use of residential care for children over the years. The aim of this systematic review was to review literature concerning children placed in residential care to investigate whether this setting can meet the often complex needs of children and to explore how residential care fits in the care system today. A comprehensive search strategy was used in nine electronic databases. Studies identified were independently assessed for eligibility by two authors using a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data were extracted from the final set of studies using a data-extraction tool. A thematic analysis was then conducted. The findings of the review highlighted that residential care is an important part of the care system and can have both a positive and negative effect on children’s emotional, behavioural and social development, as well as their mental health and academic progress. The main recommendations from this systematic review are that staff should have further training in mental health awareness. Furthermore, there should be an increase in individual support for children, whilst attachments and bonds between staff and children should be enhanced and encouraged.

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