Therapeutic residential care (TRC) is the name given to specialized children's homes for treating cases with severe emotional and behavioural problems that have been placed in residential care. A recent international review has revealed great diversity in the referral criteria of cases and in the models of intervention carried out. The goal of this study is to describe the population treated in these types of facilities in Spain and the therapeutic coverage given. The sample is made up of 215 young people in children's homes, of whom 93 are in TRC. The cases referred to TRC have been in residential care for less time but have gone through a greater number of placements. These young people also exhibit more problems of drug use, and there is a larger percentage of clinical‐range cases in the Child Behaviour Checklist scales of attention problems and aggressive behaviour. Nevertheless, the results of logistic regression indicate that the only variables that significantly increase the probability of being referred to TRC are drug use and changes of care placements. With regard to therapeutic care, there is a higher percentage in the TRC group receiving psychiatric care, and the sessions are also more frequent.