Isn’t group care a waste of resources?
Failing just one high-risk youth can cost society $3.75 million dollars (Cohen, Piquero, 2009).
Boys Town’s analysis suggests that every $1 dollar spent on residential services has the potential to save $198 – $340 dollars in long-term societal costs.
In addition, Teaching-Family Model agencies are often community-based and take advantage of services already offered in the community in order to use resources as efficiently as possible.
Critics argue that “In a majority of cases, these problems can be safely and effectively treated in the community” (Dozier, et al. 2014), through prevention programs.
This is likely true, and many Teaching-Family Model agencies offer in-home services and parent training, adapted from Model systems and proven effective, to avoid the removal of children from the home.
But we also believe it is naïve to expect that these prevention programs will completely eliminate the need for the foster care system, or that those who do enter the system will have their needs met in foster care.
Residential providers offer children 77 hours per week of care at a rate of $28 dollars per hour, which is difficult to provide in the community alone. It is our view that quality residential care will continue to be a necessary part of the foster care system to ensure that children’s needs are met and costs to society are minimized.