Consensus Statement on Group Care for Children Published

June 5, 2014

A Consensus Statement on Group Care for Children and Adolescents has been published in the most recent volume of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.   The paper is the result of a two-day meeting held in the summer of 2012 hosted by the Youth Law Center and the Annie E. Casey Foundation on the application of research in child and adolescent development to child welfare placement practices.  At the meeting, leading researchers from as far away as Israel and the Netherlands joined policy makers and advocates to discuss the implications of existing research that show the detrimental effect of group care on adolescent development.  The consensus statement, endorsed by the Board of Directors of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, affirms that children and adolescents have the need and right to grow up in a family with at least 1 committed, stable and loving adult caregiver; that in principle, group care should never be favored over family care; and that group care should be used only when it is the last detrimental alternative, when necessary therapeutic mental health services cannot be delivered in a less restrictive setting.  The paper has 10 distinguished authors, including Charles H. Zeanah, Tulane University; Mary Dozier, University of Delaware; and Carole Shauffer, Youth Law Center.