Using Evidence to Accelerate the Safe and Effective Reduction of Congregate Care for Youth Involved with Child Welfare.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Chadwick Center for Children at Rady Children's Hospital.
Public Policy Report
Published: January 2016
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
1313 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
This policy brief explains the child welfare system’s use of congregate care is in a period of rapid transition and highlights the need to establish the infrastructure necessary to support the type of children and youth often served in group and residential care in more home-like environments. Information is then provided on the population of youth involved with the child welfare system who are in need of more intensive services, strategies that may be available to support these youths in home-based placements, and variation in patterns of current congregate care placement across the country. Report findings indicate: the overall use of congregate care has decreased by 20% since 2009, but there is substantial variation among States even in this trend; some States rely heavily on congregate care as a first placement; youth placed in congregate care and therapeutic foster homes have significantly higher levels of internalizing and externalizing behaviors than those placed in traditional foster care; compared to youth whose clinical needs are met through therapeutic foster care, youth placed in congregate care are more likely have externalizing problems; and the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) contains tested strategies for disruptive behavior problems, however, many of them have not been tested for use with the child welfare population. The report lists well supported evidence based disruptive behavior treatments and placement stabilization programs, and presents recommendations. Recommendations include customizing strategies for reducing the use of congregate care, differentiating intensity of treatment form restrictiveness of placement, and incentivizing increasing capacity for skilled and/or specialized home-based placement. 5 references.
group homes; residential care institutions; foster children; emotional problems; behavior problems; evidence based practice; Treatment foster care; foster families; child welfare reform