Children's experiences of alternative care in mainland Southeast Asia – A scoping review of literature

Justin Rogers, Robert Whitelaw, Victor Karunan, Pryn Ketnim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


The potential harm caused by Residential Care Settings (RCSs) on children's development is well documented. However, there appears to be a paucity of published research on RCSs across mainland Southeast Asia. This scoping review focuses on available research articles that directly, or indirectly, engage with children to explore their experiences of living in RCSs in the region. A comprehensive search of four digital academic libraries was conducted, and 23 articles were included in the review. Most of the studies identified were on residential care settings in Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia, with no studies identified from Myanmar or Vietnam. The review found that the 23 available studies had used a variety of qualitative research methods to document children's experiences of care. However, findings reveal that adult research informants were often used to report their perceptions of the children's experiences. As a result, in some countries like Thailand, there is currently an absence of studies that have engaged directly with children. The review highlights clear research gaps, for example, no studies were found that explored the historical context, purpose, or culture of the residential care settings. Accordingly, this review argues that it is important for further research to address these gaps, as this missing empirical evidence could contribute to improving alternative care for children and potentially support the growing movement towards family-based care in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105750
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Early online date28 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by a research grant from the Martin James Foundation. For further information, please visit .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alternative care
  • Deinstitutionalisation
  • Foster care
  • Residential care
  • Southeast Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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