Youth who are involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and behavioral health systems often share one thing in common: the inability to leave those systems after only a single placement or treatment program. According to a 2021 study conducted by Pew Charitable Trust, youth who were placed into residential care averaged six out-of-home placements, with 48% experiencing between five and 11 out-of-home placements and just 9% experiencing only one placement. Additionally, youth sent to residential placement spent 16 months away from home over the course of a case, averaging roughly 6.5 months out of home in each residential placement. Nearly 20% of these youth were cumulatively kept out of their homes for more than 2 years.
Youth who experience long stays in care, repeated placements, or repeated treatment programs often experience long-term negative impacts, including educational disruption, decreased physical and mental health, and overall poor outcomes.
This white paper examines the causes of repeated placements and the impacts on system-involved youth, while also offering a data-driven solution that will lead to decreased placements, less time in the system and overall better outcomes for youth.
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