Approximately 443,000 children and youth were in foster care in 2017. Thirteen percent of them resided in a congregate or group care settings. According to a literature review by San Diego State University, congregate care settings are more expensive and are associated with higher levels of emotional and behavioral problems and poorer educational outcomes than family-based settings. Child welfare experts and researchers agree that placing children and youth in family-based settings produces the better outcomes.
This guide provides legislators and legislative staff with strategies for overcoming the challenges of reducing reliance on congregate care and increasing use of family-based care.