Residential care homes offer young people, usually of secondary school age, a safe place to live together with other children away from home. They provide accommodation, support and, in some cases, education (though in most cases, the child is educated at a school nearby).
Young people are placed in residential care on the recommendation of a Children's Hearing Panel or on an emergency, short-term basis to guarantee their safety.
Most homes are run by local authorities, but the voluntary and independent sectors also provide a range of residential services, such as residential schools. All residential care establishments are inspected by the Care Inspectorate to ensure they meet national standards.
Improving residential care
In 2000 we established the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC) to improve outcomes for children and young people in residential care. It helped to develop the residential childcare workforce by providing qualification courses and opportunities for continuous professional development.
In 2009 we asked SIRCC to lead a multi-agency National Residential Child Care Initiative (NRCCI) aimed at improving services.
In 2013 we published National Guidance for the External Management of Residential Child Care Establishments.
SIRCC was incorporated into the wider-scope Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) in 2011.