Family involvement in the residential treatment of children: a systemic perspective

Jacob E. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


When children are placed in residential treatment, a number of underlying messages are often conveyed: the child is the problem, the child's parents are the problem, and the treatment centre has the answers. Consequently children may feel rejected and parents may feel blamed. These views reflect lineal perspectives which have not been adequately addressed in the literature on residential treatment. The aim of residential treatment is to change the child's behaviour in ways which parents are unable to achieve at home. This paper proposes that the child who is placed in residential care may be caught between the parents and the treatment setting: if the child positively responds to treatment, parents could easily feel inadequate or incompetent, a dynamic which is obviously counter productive to successful treatment. The paper argues from Milan and other systemic views, that family and treatment systems be taken into consideration in planning treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


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