The Impact of the Transformation Toward Small-Scale Residential Youth Care Facilities on Professionals: A Qualitative Study

Lynn van Schie, Karin Nijhof, Eva Mulder, Chris Kuiper, Annemiek Harder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the last decade, living groups in residential youth care facilities in The Netherlands have gradually grown in size with eight to twelve adolescents per group, which is related to an increase in workload and overburdened personnel. Research suggests that a smaller group size of up to six adolescents can have a positive impact on the living and working environment, and therefore small-scale facilities are advocated as a an alternative for regular residential youth care. Little is known about the experiences of residential care personnel working in these small-scale facilities. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of the transformation toward small-scale facilities from the perspective of residential care personnel. The results show, in line with previous studies, that professionals working in small-scale facilities experience a safer and more positive group climate and that they are more able to invest in a positive therapeutic relationship with the adolescents, than working on regular residential groups. Moreover, working on a group with fewer adolescents affects the working climate in a positive way. Recommendations for practice and further research are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-463
Number of pages19
JournalResidential Treatment for Children and Youth
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Small-scale
  • experiences
  • professionals
  • residential youth care
  • transformation

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