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Residential child care is a crucial, though relatively neglected area of social work. And yet, revelations of abuse and questions of effectiveness have led to increasingly regulatory and procedural approaches to practice and heightened political and professional interest. This book provides a broad and critical look at policy and practice and the ideas that have shaped the development of the sector. The book sets present day provision within historical, policy and organisational context, and discusses a range of practice issues. The importance of the personal relationship in helping children to grow and develop is highlighted.The author applies a critical gaze to attempts to improve practice through regulation and, fundamentally, challenges how residential child care is conceptualised, arguing that it needs to move beyond dominant discourses of protection and rights to embrace those of care and upbringing. Other traditions of practice such as the European concept of social pedagogy are also explored to more accurately reflect the task of residential child care. The book will be of interest to practitioners in residential child care, social workers and students on social work and social care courses. It should be required reading for social work managers and will also be of interest to policy makers and students of social policy, education and childhood studies.