This chapter discusses the main themes concerning the residential care of children and young people, and discusses other issues, and sets the debate in a wider international context wherever possible. The historical legacy casts a long shadow, and questions about the effectiveness of children's residential care in England have continually been raised. An estimated one million children in the European Union in 2009 were living in alternative care, including residential, community and family-based care. Social pedagogy in continental Europe has a particular meaning associated with its social context, while the historical inheritance of residential care in England casts a long shadow with an enduring sense of stigma. The increased preference for foster care placements means that residential care is 'almost exclusively used for children deemed unable to live in a family': those who struggle to settle in a foster placement or prefer not to be in a foster placement.