Special Programs for Special Families

August 2013

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The Residential Care vs. Community Services DebateIn advocating for community alternatives to residential care, we want to establish some common ground, so initially avoid the negatives. There is nothing inherently positive or negative about any placement, be it institutional, residential center, group home, foster care ,independent living, home based, etc. The quality of care is determined by the staff, the support system, the agencies value system, the referring agencies coordination with the private vendor, equality of funding streams, and a whole range of other variables, most important of which is the youngster's and family's attitude toward the placement. Thus, everything else being equal ,including funding streams (and, of course, they are not equal and remain weighted toward residential), what does residential or community offer in the way of meeting specific needs of kids and families, and which placement has the most potential for meeting needs, and effecting change over the long term?