Children and Residential Experiences (CARE)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

3  — Promising Research Evidence
3  — Promising Research Evidence
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About This Program

Target Population: Child care staff, clinical staff, and agency administrators working with 6- to 20-year-old children and youth living in residential care settings

For organizations that serve children ages: 6 – 20

Brief Description

CARE is a principle-based program designed to enhance the social dynamics in residential care settings through targeted staff development and ongoing reflective practice. Using an ecological approach, CARE aims to engage all staff at a residential care agency in a systematic effort to orient practices in order to provide developmentally enriched living environments and to create a sense of normality for youth. CARE is organized around six principles related to attachment, trauma recovery, and, ecological theory. The principles state that child care practices must be:

  • Relationship-based
  • Trauma-informed
  • Developmentally focused
  • Competence-centered
  • Family-involved
  • Ecologically oriented

CARE consultants follow a standardized set of steps to train and support staff over the 3-year implementation period. An essential activity is the formation of a local Implementation Team with multilevel representation that provides support, modeling, and mentoring to staff as they incorporate CARE principles into their work. This approach is designed to cultivate personal investment and ownership among all staff levels at the agency.

Program Goals:

The goals of the Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) model are:

  • Improve relationship quality between staff and children/adolescents
  • Increase the use of trauma-informed practices by staff
  • Improve social and emotional functioning among the children and adolescents
  • Reduce the number of high-risk behavioral incidents such as aggression, property destruction, and running away
  • Reduce the use of physical restraints and other restrictive practices
  • Improve academic achievement and overall functioning in school or vocational settings among children and adolescents
  • Increase contacts between children and their families while in care
  • Increase agency’s capacity to collect, analyze, and use data in decision-making
  • Reduce staff turnover

Contact Information

Martha J. Holden, MS
Agency/Affiliation: Cornell University
Phone: (607) 254-5337
Fax: (607) 255-4837

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2017

Last CEBC Contact Date: June 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2017