Doesn’t group care traumatize kids? Isn’t it a last resort?
Trauma-informed care and group care are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, the original standards of the Teaching-Family Model align closely with the principles of trauma-informed care.
The Teaching-Family Association has also added a trauma-informed standard that overlaps with many other standards to emphasize its importance in agency reviews.
Often, children who are on a trajectory towards residential care can be identified early based on average daily incidents with foster parents. These incidents lead to repeated removal from care in the foster care system, which increases the traumatic damage of the system.
The belief that residential care should be a last resort means many of these children are continually placed in and removed from settings where they are likely to be removed and traumatized again by that removal. In quality residential care like Teaching-Family Model agencies, these incidents do not result in removal.
We also know that trauma damages the hippocampus, and that caring relationships can reverse this process of damage, but the reconstruction and healing process can take 90 days to even begin, and these connections need to continue to be strengthened past 90 days. The value of residential care is the sustained, durable relationships kids can receive in a stable setting.