An alternative to a juvenile-detention facility, a group home is a living environment for wayward teens. Many homes strive to provide juvenile delinquents with therapy, occupational training and socialization skills. A group home may be suitable for a juvenile with a history of committing minor or moderate offenses such as petty theft and property defacement.
Search for programs and centers for delinquent juveniles at the Family First Aid Web site (see Resources below).
Look for a group home with a clear corporate history and sound organization. Frequent reorganization is often a sign that the institution doesn't want to provide accountability information.
Discuss your options with a child therapist, who can help determine if the facilities you're looking at have the necessary components to be effective.
Inquire about the history of a facility and how problems have been handled in the past. A group home which claims no past problems is probably not being completely honest.
Ask questions about juveniles who have left the home, and their reasons for doing so. Find out the average length of time spent in the program.
Visit the facility and speak with staff, faculty and current residents. Check that the home is clean and orderly.
Utilize any on-going assistance provided once a juvenile has left the home. Many of the better group homes continue to assist former residents via counseling, job searches and even help applying to colleges.
- The prospect of a group home can stir an unexpected array of emotions in both you and your child; you may feel anxiety, sadness and even relief. Know that these emotions are normal. You might want to join a support group or attend therapy sessions to vocalize your emotions and start the healing process.
- You and your child have the right to privacy. You do not need to disclose anything about your child's background or problems until you have settled on a specific home.