Group Care of Children and Adolescents
Barfield, Sharon T.
University of Kansas. School of Social Welfare.
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This literature review sought the answers to three questions regarding group care for children and adolescents: Question 1: Is there empirical literature that supports the "best practices" idea that family foster care is better than group home care? According to the review, the answer to this question is a "strong yes." The empirical base found family foster care significantly more effective on a number of outcomes with a variety of groups of children. Question 2: Is there empirical literature that says certain types of children do better in group homes than in family foster homes? No well-designed studies were located to answer this question conclusively. However, the author discussed studies conducted with high risk chronic juvenile offenders and reasoned that if chronic juvenile offenders can be better served in family foster care than in group care, it stands to reason that the same is true of other high-risk children with similar problems. Question 3: If group homes might be better for some children, or if we are always going to have group homes due to "nowhere else to go," which types of group homes programs (treatment models) have shown to be effective for which types of children? Few outcome studies were found that used a rigorous research method to show program curriculums that were effective. The author cites 5 models of group home programming; 4 models show promise and include the Teaching Family Model (Kirigan, 2001); Father Flanagan's Boy's Home Model (Thompson, Smith, Oswood Dowd, Friman, & Daly, 1996); The REPARE model (Landsman, Groza, Tyler, & Molone, 2001); and "Schema" (Bass, Dosser, & Powerll, 2000). "Positive Peer Culture" was identified as an ineffective approach by former recipients in the juvenile correctional system (Kapp, 2000). References: 1.Bass, L., Dosser, D., Powerll, J. (2000). Celebrating change: A schema for family-centered practice in residential settings. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 17, 123-137. 2. Landsman, M., Groza, V., Tyler, M., and Malone, K. (2001). Outcomes of family centered residential treatment. Child Welfare League of America, 50, 351-378. 3. Kapp, S. (2000). Positive Peer Culture: The viewpoint of former clients. Journal of Adolescent Group Therapy, 10, 175-189. 4.Kirigin, K. (2001). The teaching family model: A replicable system of care. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 18, 99-110. 5.Thompson, R., Smith G., Oswood D., Dowd T., Friman P., & Daly D. (1996). Residential care: A study of short and long-term educational effects. Children and Youth Services, 18, 221-241.
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