16 December, 2011
There are a great many “experts” who believe that facility based care is either unnecessary or bad. Most of them formed their opinions on this subject on the basis of what might have been going on 20 years ago when “residential” care may have been used excessively by the child welfare. Such people seem to me to be intellectually lazy in that they have clearly not taken the time to examine the population the situation on the ground today where there are just a fraction of the facility based beds available ‘in the old days’. One of the justifications such people use to avoid doing any real thinking is that children cannot learn how to live in a family at a group home. They say this despite the fact that there is research that suggests that children coming out of group homes have more “permanency success than those coming out of foster care. I believe that this is so because in our facility we focus a lot of attention on teaching the children how to more successfully and positively relate to others. When you have a difficult child in a foster home, too often the foster parent has more than enough on their plates to do more than just manage the difficult situations that arise. Given the lack of support most foster parents get from the system it is no wonder that this might be so.
I put this kind of criticism of facility based care in the same category of lazy thinking that lead to a universal condemnation of all mental hospitals. So how are chronically mentally ill people better off living under viaducts and being regularly victimized by the climate and criminals?