At any given time, there are approximately 42,823 children housed in institutions and other group facilities. Institutionalizing children denies them loving homes and robs them of their childhood.
Families over Facilities is a call to action to end the unnecessary institutionalization of children in child welfare. The report details the physical, mental and emotional harm done to children in group settings, the significant unnecessary taxpayer costs associated with the practice, and violations of children’s civil and human rights.
The report provides both a Declaration of Urgency and an Adaptable Toolkit of practical steps state child welfare agencies, case workers, and service providers can take to end institutionalization, keep families together and children out of foster care, and when that is not possible, dramatically increase the placement of children with other family members.
As COVID-19 continues to endanger the lives of youth and the nation reckons with the inherent racism in government systems, the burden of institutionalization falls disproportionately on Black children. At the same time, there has been an explosion of reports of egregious abuses and dangerous conditions in group homes.
Now is the time to end the institutionalization of children once and for all and dismantle the persistent racism that exists within the youth justice and child welfare systems.
What You’ll Find in the Report
- Hear from young adults who bravely shared their lived experiences
- Learn how institutions and group facilities inflict harm on children and violate their rights
- Discover strategies for child welfare agencies and advocates to adopt to end unnecessary institutionalization
Voices of the youth who lived in out-of-home foster placements
Families Over Facilities Champions
Former Associate Judge,
Fulton County Juvenile Court, Georgia
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Children’s Advocacy Institute
Children’s Defense Fund
Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, State of Connecticut
First Star, Inc.
Child Welfare Advocate
Former Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
The Justice Lab at Columbia University
Juvenile Law Center
Former Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, State of Connecticut
Former Commissioner of the U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families and Former Senior Policy Advisor, The White House
National Association of Counsel for Children
National Center for Youth Law
Think of Us
Hon. William A. Thorne, Jr.
Retired Judge on the State of Utah Court of Appeals and in the Third District Court
Molly McGrath Tierney
Former Director of the Department of Social Services, City of Baltimore
Former Director of the Director Alabama Department of Human Resources Family Services Division; Founder of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group
Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice
Youth Law Center
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