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Residential care for children

Residential care provides short, or long, term accommodation and support to safeguard the welfare of children.

Residential units

A children's residential unit is a safe and homely environment, staffed by trained residential workers. North Ayrshire Council has 5 units, accommodating children between the ages of 10 and 18, who will usually attend local schools. 

Children at the units have an individual care plan which aims to improve their outcomes as set out in the GIRFEC approach and Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.

Units are inspected by the Care Inspectorate to ensure they meet National Care Standards. 

Residential schools

A residential school provides residential care and education on site. Most residential schools are run by voluntary or private sector organisations and mainly cater for children with complex disabilities or behavioural problems. 

Why are some children placed in residential care?

North Ayrshire Council has a legal duty, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. In some circumstances this can only be met through the use of residential care, for example:

  • family crisis
  • neglect
  • abuse
  • parents unable to care as a result of substance abuse
  • a child's complex disabilities
  • the child's involvement in offending behaviour

Who decides that a child is placed within residential care?

Children's Hearings and the Sheriff Court can make legal orders that require us to look after and accommodate children within a residential setting. Alternatively, parents, in partnership with us, can agree that it would be in a child's best interests for them to be in residential care.

Contact Health and Social Care Partnership




01294 317700 or 'Out of hours' 0800 328 7758




HSCP offices