Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Not applicable

Advisor Role

Not applicable


Within the past four decades, social work has witnessed the development of increasingly specialized servicecs to children, among these a sort of “total impact therapy” generally defined as residential treatment. In conjunction with the basic social work values of the bio-psycho-social nature of human maladjustment, residential centres have attempted to help the child effect a happier adjustment to his life situation by meeting some ungratified basic need. Institutions for dependent children complimented those for custodial care of even isolation; contemporary residential treatment centres are designed to meet a broader range of needs of the child than those of forty years ago through a variety of approaches, often referred to as milieu therapy. Consideration of the common needs of children is basic to questions concerning the place of institutional treatment and the particular type of child for which this social work service is the most appropriate one.

The residential treatment centre addresses the whole gamut of a child’s needs from physical care to rehabilitation. Exposure to, and participation in, a group life experience simulating as closely as possible the family or community life experience is the element differentiating residential care from other treatment modes. By involvement in the realities of his daily situation and the working through or resolution of these, the child is helped to cope with his own growth and development—physical, emotional, and social.

Problems and questions examined in this paper revolve around the residential treatment centre defined vaguely by the Child Welfare League of America as “A building....maintained and operated by a chartered agency, organization or institution, whose main purpose is to provide shelter and care to a group of unrelated children and youths up to eighteen years of age.” More specifically, the concern for research, the proposal and plans for implementation are focused on Mount St. Joseph, an autonomous, non-profit institution providing care for boys with moderate to severe emotional disturbances.

Convocation Year


Included in

Social Work Commons