These resources provide helpful information when determining whether group or residential care would best meet the needs of a child or youth who cannot remain with his or her family. Important factors related to this decision include the needs of the child and the associated outcomes of various out-of-home care options.
Assessing the Strengths and Needs of Children Placed in Out-of-Home Through the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Tool (PDF - 40 KB)
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (2017)
Provides instruction on using the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths tool to determine a child's level of need prior to placement in a group home or residential care center. The tool measures aspects of the child such as the impact of trauma, life functioning, and behavioral or emotional needs.
Characteristics of Children in Foster Care, Family-Style Group Care, and Residential Care: A Scoping Review
Leloux-Opmeer, Kuiper, Swaab, & Scholte (2016)
Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(8)
Compares children and their families at the time of admission to foster care, family-style group care, and residential care to determine defining characteristics for children in each group and to identify knowledge gaps and relevant risk factors.
The Child Welfare Placement Continuum: What's Best for Children?
National Conference of State Legislatures (2019)
Discusses child welfare placements with relatives and foster families as well as the use of group care or congregate care, which includes specialized services for children and youth to receive emotional and behavioral health care in a setting that includes intensive supervision.
Congregate Care, Residential Treatment and Group Home State Legislative Enactments 2014-2019
National Conference of State Legislatures (2020)
Analyses congregate care for children needing short-term supervision and structure due to behavioral concerns.
Comparing Long-Term Placement Outcomes of Residential and Family Foster Care: A Meta-Analysis
Li, Chng, & Chu (2019)
Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 20(5)
Compares outcomes for children and youth placed in residential group care versus family foster care. The study examines internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, and perceptions of care. Findings show children in family foster care have consistently better experience and fewer problems across the three outcome measures compared to children and youth placed in residential group care.
Improve Outcomes for Children in Foster Care by Reforming Congregate Care Payment Models (PDF - 446 KB)
Explains how child welfare agencies need practical strategies to change how they use congregate care. This article focuses strategies to align payment and program goals and offers keys to success that include careful analysis, planning, and monitoring.
The Moderating Effect Between Strengths and Placement on Children’s Needs in Out-of-Home Care: A Follow-Up Study
Sim, Li, & Chu (2016)
Children and Youth Services Review, 60
Compares the effect of placement in residential care and foster care situations in children based on their resiliency and strength levels. Initial differences in baseline resiliency and strength are mediated in residential care settings and persist for longer periods in foster care placements.
What Are the Outcomes for Youth Placed in Congregate Care Settings?
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Provides statistics on the use of congregate care, offers research highlights, and compares outcomes for children and youth placed in family foster care.