Who goes where? Exploring factors related to placement among group homes.


Despite their widespread use as a placement option for youth with mental health problems, there is relatively little research on group homes for youth. Available data highlight concerns with practices and treatment within group homes and mixed results on youth-level outcomes. However, existing research appears to collapse a wide range of group residential settings into a single amorphous category. This article explores potential variations among group homes to examine whether different programs are systematically serving different types of youth. It examines, in particular, placement in homes using the teaching family model (TFM) versus homes that do not. Findings suggest that demographics are not significantly associated with TFM placement. However, custody status, types of mental health problems, and use of psychotropic medications are. Homes appear to be serving distinct niches within a geographic area. Implications for future research and policy/practice are discussed.