Institutional care is understood to be any residential care where an institutional culture prevails. The size of the institution matters but is not the only defining feature. Children are isolated from the broader community and/or compelled to live together.
Children here do not have sufficient control over their lives and over decisions that affect them. The requirements of the organisation tend to take precedence over the children’s individual needs. This usually includes large residential units (more than 10 children) but also smaller units with strict regimes, units for children who have committed minor offences, residential health facilities, and residential special schools.
Source: Mulheir G, Deinstitutionalisation: A Human Rights Priority for Children with Disabilities, Equal Rights Review, Vol 9,2012