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Are You Listening? Youth Accounts of Congregate Placements in New York State

Around 38,700 young people across the United States live in non-family foster placements such as group homes and residential facilities, known as congregate settings. Congregate environments have long been a source of concern due to their hazardous and carceral nature. Despite mounting evidence that these placements do more harm than good, the practice persists, including in New York State. Over the previous decade, New York has consistently maintained one of the highest congregate placement rates among states in the nation with substantial foster system populations.

Are You Listening? Youth Accounts of Congregate Placements in New York State goes behind the scenes of congregate settings in New York to document the lived experiences of 80 young New Yorkers. Their first-hand accounts vividly illustrate that congregate placements overwhelmingly inflict lasting harm on youth, while their recommendations show a clear path forward that can lead to the elimination of congregate placements in New York. The report was compiled by Children’s Rights and Community Impact Advisors.  

Download the summary or full report to learn more about youth experiences in congregate settings in New York, and their recommendations for change. It’s time we listen.

…they really don’t listen to the kid…if you listen a little bit harder…the kid will literally tell you exactly what’s going on, exactly where the problem is, and exactly what they want.

Lived Expert

Content Warning: This report contains first-hand accounts of life in the foster system, including mention of mental illness, physical violence and restraints, identity-based violence, and sexual assault. If you are experiencing a crisis and need someone to talk to, you can dial 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which provides free and confidential support for people in distress.

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