Alternatives to/Reducing Congregate Care

YLC has long worked to eliminate inappropriate uses of congregate care for children in out-of-home care. Every child needs a family with hands-on parenting (love, commitment, support, direction and structure) whether provided by a birth parent, relative, foster parent, or other parental figure. For some children, congregate care is never appropriate. When necessary group care must have a clearly defined purpose, be time limited and structured to meet the developmental needs of the child.YLC engages in a variety of advocacy strategies to reduce the use of congregate care.


Recent Actions

  • Instituting the Quality Parenting Initiative in several states to strengthen family based care for foster youth.
  • Convened leading experts from around the world on the application of research to the child welfare placement practice of congregate care.
  • Opposed legislation that would have exempted crisis nurseries from California’s strict limitations on congregate care for children under age six.
  • Monitoring use of California’s county operated children’s shelters for housing children under the age of six.
  • Advocacy in Las Vegas, Nevada to eliminate the inappropriate use of the county’s children’s shelter to house infants and toddlers.
  • Advocating for the use of family based foster care for youth in the juvenile justice system.
  • Participation in statewide workgroups on congregate care reform efforts in California

Past Litigation

  • Booream v. Orange County (action challenging county’s failure to adhere to state law limitations on placement  of children under age six in county children’s shelter.)
  • Karen Jones-Mason v. Anderson (action to require the state social services agency to develop regulations limiting the placement of foster children under age six in group care).