Frank Ainsworth and June Thorburn, 2014, International Journal of Social Welfare
There is common ground that institutional care should not be used for infants and young children. There is also research evidence from a range of countries that some young people whose needs cannot be met by their parents prefer to live in a group-care setting, and that secure conditions or very specialist therapy for others can best be provided in a group-care setting. There is case-based evidence from Australia (Ainsworth & Hansen, 2005, 2008) that the very small size of the residential care sector increases the proportion of children in care who experience multiple foster family placements, re-abuse and neglect within care and traumatic disruptions. Within these broad areas of agreement, different countries will reach different conclusions about the appropriate balance between family
care and group care. These will be influenced by the context, history, and social and political philosophies that have shaped their child welfare services. However, when determining the size and shape of their group-care services, policy makers should also have at their disposal more rigorous descriptive, process and outcome research on different models of residential care for children with different needs.