Glossary & Insights
• Family: the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth, well-being, and protection of children. Efforts should primarily be directed to enabling the child to remain in or return to the care of his/her parents, or when appropriate, other close family members.
• Alternative care system: it can be provided when a child is temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment. This includes formal and informal care of children without parental care. Alternative care includes kinship care, hetero-familiar foster care and other forms of family-based or family-like care placements, supervised independent living arrangements for children and residential care facilities.
Alternative care may take the form of:
• Informal care: aany private arrangement provided in a family environment, whereby the child is looked after on an ongoing or indefinite basis by relatives or friends (informal kinship care) or by others in their individual capacity, at the initiative of the child, his/her parents or another person without this arrangement having been ordered by an administrative or judicial authority or a duly accredited body;
• Formal care: all care provided in a family environment which has been ordered by a competent administrative body or judicial authority, and all care provided in a residential environment, including in private facilities, whether or not as a result of administrative or judicial measures.
Concerning the environment where it is provided, alternative care may be:
• Foster care: situations where children are formally appointed by a competent authority to alternative care within a domestic environment of a family other than the children’s own family which has been selected and supervised for providing such care;
• Residential care: care provided in any non-family-based group setting, such as places of safety for emergency care, transit centres in emergencies, and all other short and long-term residential care facilities, including group homes.
To know more about care leavers
Suggested readings to learn more about active projects on alternative care systems and care leavers:
Final results of the national sample survey “Travelling towards our future The “out-of-family” reception through the eyes of those who have experienced it”. Edited by Diletta Mauri and Valerio Belotti
Recommendations, workshop outcomes and training On the road to our future Care outside the family through the eyes of those who have experienced it. Edited by the Care Leavers Network Italy
Summary of Care Leavers Network Italy Recommendations presented at the second national conference
Italian report of the ONG SOS Children’s Villages Italy “A response to care leavers: employability and access to decent work”.
More national projects
Existing opportunities at national level for care leavers
Access to the same employment benefits of peoplefor disabilities. For more details:
Access to scholarships. For more details:
• Cashmore, J. (2002).
Promoting the participation of children and young people in care.
Child Abuse & Neglect, 26(8), 837–847.
• Courtney, M. E., & Dworsky, A. (2006).
Early outcomes for young adults transitioning from out‐of‐home care in the USA.
Child & family social work, 11(3), 209-219.
• Harder, A. T., Mann-Feder, V., Oterholm, I., & Refaeli, T. (2020).
Supporting transitions to adulthood for youth leaving care: Consensus based principles.
Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105260.
• Hiles, D., Moss, D., Wright, J., & Dallos, R. (2013).
Young people’s experience of social support during the process of leaving care: A review of the literature.
Children and Youth Services Review, 35(12), 2059-2071.
• James S. (2011)
What works in group care? – A structured review of treatment models for group homes and residential care.
Child Youth Serv Rev.;33(2):308-321.
• SOS Villaggi dei Bambini (20017).
Report Italiano della Ricerca. Una risposta ai care leavers: occupabilità e accesso ad un lavoro dignitoso
• Stein, M. (1994).
Leaving care, education and career trajectories.
Oxford Review of education, 20(3), 349-350.
• Strahl, B., van Breda, A. D. P., Mann-Feder, V., & Schröer, W. (2021).
A multinational comparison of care-leaving policy and legislation.
Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 37(1), 34-49.
• Strijbosch, E. L. L., Huijs, J. A. M., Stams, G. J. J. M., Wissink, I. B., Van der Helm, G. H. P., De Swart, J. J. W., & Van der Veen, Z. (2015).
The outcome of institutional youth care compared to non-institutional youth care for children of primary school age and early adolescence: A multi-level meta-analysis.
Children and Youth Services Review, 58, 208-218.