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#1 27plus

Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:56 PM

Can anyone explain to me what "residential care" is? Is it a group home?

#2 FloralArrangement

Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:10 PM

In SA children can go into Residential Care so yes group home. Generally because they are removed from their birth family home and put into foster care.

We have two children who came to us through foster care and is called out of home care.

Edited by FloralArrangement, 15 September 2019 - 05:12 PM.


#3 blimkybill

Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:19 PM

Yes it would usually be a group home. Sometimes a very small group. (Like 1, 2 or 3). It’s considered when a child can’t live with their family but there is also no suitable foster care placement available.

#4 too tired to care

Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:33 PM

It is care provided in a residential setting, so pps are also correct, it is care provided in a residential setting and houses/ cottages that can have  up to about 10 residents.

The term is also utilised when describing retirement villages, hostels and nursing homes for ageing people.

#5 Staying Strange

Posted 15 September 2019 - 07:32 PM

Residential care is a term used for a couple of different settings.

Like PPs have states they are residential homes that are used to house/accommodate residents. I understand that the term is used both in out of hone care and aged care - though are different.

My experience in youth/out of home care residential care is that "Resi homes" are for 1 to 6 residents (usually aged 12 and above) and are staffed by youth workers in a rotating roster 24/7. They are sometimes referred to as group homes.

There are also secure units - which I forget the exact terminology for (I think either intensive or therapeutic residential care) which is more structured and medicalised due to the significantly higher needs of the residents.

Residential care is a term used for a couple of different settings.

Like PPs have states they are residential homes that are used to house/accommodate residents. I understand that the term is used both in out of hone care and aged care - though are different.

My experience in youth/out of home care residential care is that "Resi homes" are for 1 to 6 residents (usually aged 12 and above) and are staffed by youth workers in a rotating roster 24/7. They are sometimes referred to as group homes.

There are also secure units - which I forget the exact terminology for (I think either intensive or therapeutic residential care) which is more structured and medicalised due to the significantly higher needs of the residents.

#6 27plus

Posted 15 September 2019 - 08:19 PM

Thank you for the replies.

Family member has been kicked out of current care home and has chosen to go into residential care, although there is a perfectly safe family home they could return to.

Not sure if they understands fully what residential care/group home is.  But it is their choice and at 16 they are allowed to make that choice.

#7 27plus

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:00 PM

Just another question - how do group homes run?  Are they very strict in what the residents can and cant do do - for example can they come and go, are they structured, can they choose to leave if they decide they dont like it there?

Are there different "levels"  for example do they group the children according to their issues and severity of them?

The only information I can find is generic, or articles on how bad they are (violence etc).

#8 -Carpe Diem-

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:59 PM

View Post27plus, on 18 September 2019 - 05:00 PM, said:

Just another question - how do group homes run?  Are they very strict in what the residents can and cant do do - for example can they come and go, are they structured, can they choose to leave if they decide they dont like it there?

Are there different "levels"  for example do they group the children according to their issues and severity of them?

The only information I can find is generic, or articles on how bad they are (violence etc).

It sounds like you're talking about a residential group home for young people aged 12-18? Assuming not a disability group home?

In NSW the way each home runs is generally dependent on which agency is managing the residential care.

In my experience (work in the industry) it very much depends on the staff skill level and the support from management but in the house, they aren't very strict at all.

There are curfews but enforcing it is difficult. Quite often its children with high behavioral needs and history of trauma which end up in residential care and therefore the homes can often be categorized as chaotic.

There is ratios of worker to child in terms of skill level but it isn't always adhered too meaning managing behaviors can be difficult.

I hope this isnt the case for the facility your family member is at but I would be trying very very hard to prevent family member from staying in a residential facility if possible.

#9 Expelliarmus

Posted 18 September 2019 - 06:13 PM

DH works in residential care for young people so I say this with some insight - they do not group children and young people according to any sort of levels and there isn’t an option to ‘choose a different place because you don’t like this one’. You get put where you get put and movement occurs only if there are difficulties. Usually caused by behaviours.

#10 27plus

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:19 PM

Yes it would be for 12-18 years olds.

The family member has an agency approved home of a family member to go to but refuses that option.  There is no valid reason for the refusal, from the agency point of view or from the 16 year old's reasons.  They choose to go to a group home.

They are either very naive about what a group home actually is like or are hoping that their previous foster home (which they were kicked out of) will change their mind and take them back, but that will not be possible because of the agency's duty of care and the reason why they were kicked out.

Our whole family know the choosing to go to the group home is the worst choice they are making, but there is nothing we can do about it.

#11 Staying Strange

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:02 PM

27plus, I've worked in a number of Resi units across two different organisations and worked very closely with the Resi units when I worked in foster care.

Group homes aren't always "the worst choice". Sometimes they're actually a very good choice. I've worked with children who had very good outcomes from Resi care (better than some of the outcomes I've seen from foster care) and others who have had poor outcomes

To answer your previous questions

How do group homes run?  
Different homes run differently and different agencies run them differently. But typically they're run as "home like" as possible. Staff on 24hr rotating rosters. Key workers assigned to each resident (so that person liaises with school, Tafe, health, child protection, therapists etc). Goals are set and worked towards. Contact with family facilitated. Life skills taught so that transition to independent living can occur

Are they very strict in what the residents can and cant do do - for example can they come and go, are they structured, can they choose to leave if they decide they dont like it there?

There's generally rules. And generally a contract with the resident. There will be structure. Eg breakfast, off to school/Tafe/work. Home, homework, chores , bed by 10pm (or whatever bedtime)

Kids can't just come and go- the unit is responsible for their well-being. But it's handled differently at each unit.


Are there different "levels"  for example do they group the children according to their issues and severity of them?

Yes. In NSW there are 2 levels. Residential care and secure residential care. Although matching is ideal and best practice. Often it's a matter if a bed is available here so you take it.


The only information I can find is generic, or articles on how bad they are (violence etc).

There isn't violence at all homes. Though if you think of the cohort that ends up in residential care it is not surprising. They are typically much more traumatized than children in the general population. Have had greater broken attachments and more disruption. However. They're not all like that.


I'm very happy to chat with you further via PM if you'd like.

#12 27plus

Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:02 PM

Thank you staying strange for your very detailed answers to my questions.  You have actually made me feel a little more positive about her choice, as i do think she needs to grow up a lot and the group home may facilitate this.

Her life hasn't been a "bad" one, she has had so much support from all the family throughout her childhood, (even previous caseworker commented this was an unusual case as they usually don't see the level of support she has had in their usual cases), we have always been involved since she was 3 years old, when she started in foster care.  She hasn't been subject to abuse or violence and 6 months ago she was happy in her life.

It is difficult for the family to understand why she has, in such a short time, chosen to walk away from the family, but it is her choice and I hope the gourp home will give her the life skills she needs, and insight as well.

#13 Mollycoddle

Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:26 PM

 blimkybill, on 15 September 2019 - 05:19 PM, said:

Yes it would usually be a group home. Sometimes a very small group. (Like 1, 2 or 3). It’s considered when a child can’t live with their family but there is also no suitable foster care placement available.

This.  I work in this area also and there is a 2-tiered system for young person's accommodation here in the ACT.  For 12-18-year-olds the accommodation and care is provided by agencies contracted by the ACT Government and placements are done only through the child protection system.  Most of the young people are on care orders (ie. have been removed from their families) but some of those care orders can be voluntary ie. parents refuse to have them back or in some cases, they can go back but refuse.  If CPS agree to put them on a VCO they will get access to a placement.  This doesn't happen for every child though dependent on the situation, there are kids as young as 12 and 13 floating around the streets here because CPS consider them to have a home to go to but for whatever reason they refuse to live there.  Pretty much everything is done for the young people in this type of resi care ie. they are driven to school and picked up if needed, taken to appointments etc.  Theoretically they are in the accommodation to be provided with care, not just a roof over their heads.  If a young person is on a care order they MUST be provided with this which means all sorts of behaviours are tolerated as they need to reside somewhere in the CPS system.

The other tier overlaps at the ages of 16-18 and goes up to age 25 and we call it mainstream youth homelessness services.  This is the area I work in, which consists of a crisis accommodation network (ie. refuges but we try to avoid this terminology now) and transitional (medium-term) accommodation for young people who for whatever reason have had to leave the family home.  They need to be homeless or at risk of and we allow the responsibility of proving that to fall back onto Centrelink ie. they need to be eligible for Unreasonable to Live at Home Youth Allowance which involves assessment process by the Centrelink social workers where the young person, parents and third parties are spoken to in order to verify the homelessnes situation.  It is 100% voluntary for a young person to come into these types of services and the focus is on working toward independent living as opposed to being just a holding pen until they can be transitioned out of the care system.  If behaviour is out of line the young person will be asked to leave the service so the onus really is on them to make the most of the opportunity and support they are offered by the service.

Our mainstream youth homelessness services don't take people from the care system as a rule as the government funds their own contracted providers ^^ to provide care and protection services for their cohort of young people where as mainstream youth homelessness services are funded by a different area altogether here in ACT.  Therefore we feel we shouldn't be picking up the slack and compensating for incompetence in the transitioning of young people out of care at the time their care orders expire.  It's very political and it has arisen out of a situation which went on up until about 20 years ago where CPS would sometimes literally dump a young person at a mainstream service with a promise to reimburse for their expenses from the funding allotted to that child by the government yet the reimbursements never happened so the costs were borne by the mainstream service.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 19 September 2019 - 04:46 PM.


#14 27plus

Posted 20 September 2019 - 04:16 PM

The thing is there IS a family home she can go to.  And she can stay there forever if she wishes to.  It is approved and she has lived there happily until a few months ago, and then for no apparent reason except "they are old", decides it is no good.

She chooses not to stay there, so went to a foster home, got kicked out, and so now the agency is finding a group home for her to live at.

A part of me is angry because she will be taking a bed from a child that desperately needs it.

#15 SplashingRainbows

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:34 PM

“They are old” sounds like a cover for a reason she doesn’t want to give. If things changed very suddenly for her are you sure there isn’t a problem? Sexual abuse or similar?

I would open to the possibility that the house you think is perfectly safe is actually not perfectly safe if she won’t return there.

I hope she is ok.

#16 gettin my fance on

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:46 PM

or it could just be that she thinks the rules she is expected to live by as a family member in that house are too restrictive for her and they are too old to 'understand'.

#17 PizzaPlease

Posted 20 September 2019 - 09:40 PM

View Postgettin my fance on, on 20 September 2019 - 08:46 PM, said:

or it could just be that she thinks the rules she is expected to live by as a family member in that house are too restrictive for her and they are too old to 'understand'.

I suppose it's possible but how often have you heard about young people in dreadful situations who did not receive help because their homes and lives appeared safe and protected to those outside.

On balance, if a 16 year is asserting that she is unable to remain in an arranged out of home care situation for any reason, I would be inclined to believe her. If she is living in approved care (ie not with a parent as OP suggests) then it seems likely that her life has been more difficult than most young peoples, I don't think there's much point in ruminating on whether her group home place might be better utilised by another.




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