- BACKGROUND: The concept of resilience is popular in both the mainstream media and in health and human services research. Over the last 40 years, the term has been moulded and transformed from the idea of a trait that can be fostered within the individual towards a transactional concept with an emphasis on environmental factors. Although many current definitions are used to describe and talk about resilience, the dynamism of the concept is a common element across most current discussions and research applications. This paper provides an opportunity to place the concept of resilience within a framework for future application at the clinical frontlines. METHODS: An extensive scoping review on the existing literature was undertaken to explore recurring themes associated with resilience in families and children, particularly in the context of childhood disability. This literature was mapped and categorized in the context of World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework to create recommendations for practical application by health professionals. FINDINGS: Three major themes emerged: (a) the idea of resilience as a state of an individual at a specific point in time rather than a built-in trait; (b) the idea of resilience as dynamic rather than static; and (c) the value of a framework into which to place the components of "resilience." CONCLUSIONS: The relative ease with which resilience concepts is situated within the ICF is an indication that the ICF framework provides a useful way to incorporate concepts of resilience for clinical application.