An exploration of distance and home when looked after: views of young people

Carrie F Mclaughlan

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This qualitative research explored how distance relates to young people's experiences of being looked after away from home. It sought views of young people living in residential care in Scotland using semi-structured interviews. Thematic Analysis was used to elicit key themes. A global theme of 'Connections' was identified. Feelings of distance were related to how connected or disconnected young people felt towards relationships and places. These 'Connections' were supported through Contact and Familiarity. Themes of feeling disconnected from home, and subsequently feeling further away from home related to a perceived sense of control and constraint from being in care. Shame, guilt and anxiety contributed to feeling disconnected. Feelings of connectedness and/or disconnectedness to home influenced young people’s views of their own risk-taking behaviour. This research highlights the relevance of other factors, not just proximity when considering placing young people in care away from home.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalScottish Journal of Residential Child Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021


  • youth
  • adolescent
  • looked after
  • secure care
  • distance
  • risk
  • offending


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