A group home is a small, residential facility located within a community and designed to serve children or adults with chronic disabilities. There are different types of group homes for children, adults, and older adults with different needs. These homes usually have six or fewer occupants and are staffed 24 hours a day by trained caregivers.

Group homes are known to serve a small number of teens, unlike large residential treatment facilities or psychiatric hospitals. They reside in a family-like setting with trained staff. Furthermore, a group home in a local community is what the government and universities term a “small group home”.

Group homes always have trained personnel, and administration located both for the home and outside the home at office locations. Larger homes often are termed residential facilities, as are campuses with homes located throughout a campus structure.

Please note that successful group homes often aim to better the health of their residents, both physically and emotionally. Checkups with physicians are frequently available to residents, as are drug tests. Group homes often collaborate with outside organizations and companies to extend these health features to their residents.

Different Types of Group Home?

  1. Residents and Services Group Homes

Residents and services group homes are group homes that accommodate people with disabilities, such as autism, intellectual disability, chronic or long-term mental/psychiatric disorder, or physical or multiple disabilities.

Some residents and services group homes are funded as transitional homes to prepare for independent living (in an apartment or return to family or marriage and employment), and others are viewed as permanent community homes.

  1. Residential Treatment Facilities

People who live in a residential treatment group homes are offered support. These include people who are developmentally disabled, recovering from alcohol or drug addiction (e.g., who may have attended a youth drug court hosted by the judicial system), abused or neglected youths, youths with behavioral or emotional problems, and/or youths with criminal records (e.g., a person in need of supervision).

  1. Residential Treatment for Children with Mental Health Needs

Residential treatment centers and other organized mental health care for children with emotional needs are yet another type of group home. Residential treatment centers were considered largely inappropriate for many of the children who needed better community support services hence the creation of residential treatment for children with mental health needs.

Restructuring of these systems was proposed to promote better prevention and family support for children in mental health systems similar to international initiatives in “individualized family support program”. Residential treatment is one part of an array of community services which include therapeutic foster care, family support, case management, crisis-emergency services, outpatient and day services, and home-based services.

During this period, residential treatment was also compared to supported housing, also called supportive housing for its role in comprehensive service system developments, though often for adults who may need or desire services.

  1. Community Resources and Neighborhoods

Community Resources and Neighborhoods is another type of group home. Group homes have a good community image and were developed in the intellectual disability and mental health fields as a desirable middle class option located in good neighborhoods after a faulty start in poorer neighborhoods in the United States.

Group homes were often built in accordance with the principle of normalization (people with disabilities), to blend into neighborhoods, to have access to shopping, banks, and transportation, and sometimes, universal access and design.

  1. Halfway Houses and Intermediate Care Facilities

Another type of group home is the halfway houses and intermediate care facilities. Although a group home differs from a halfway house, the latter which is one of the most common terms describing community living opportunities in mental health in the 1970s’ medical and psychiatric literature.

Specialized halfway houses, as half way between the institution and a regular home, may serve individuals with addictions or who may now be convicted of crimes. Residents are usually encouraged or required to take an active role in the maintenance of the household, such as performing chores or helping to manage a budget.

Interestingly, some of these homes were certified as intermediate care facilities (ICF-MRs) and must respond to stricter facility-based standards.

Residents may have their own room or share rooms, and share facilities such as laundry, bathroom, kitchen, and common living areas. The opening of group homes in neighborhoods is occasionally opposed by residents due to ableist fears that it will lead to a rise in crime and/or a drop in property values.

  1. Foster Care and Family Support For Children

Foster care and family support for children is yet another type of group home. The truth is that a group home can also refer to family homes in which children and youth of the foster care system are placed, sometimes until foster families are found for them, sometimes for long-term care. Homes that are termed group foster care operate under other standards than those termed group homes, including different management systems and departments.

Unrelated children or sibling groups live in a home-like setting with either a set of house parents or a rotating staff of trained caregivers. Specialized therapeutic or treatment group homes are available to meet the needs of children with emotional, intellectual, physical, medical, and/or behavioral difficulties.

Several sources state that, in comparison to other placement alternatives, this form of care is the most restrictive for youth in the foster care system. The term group home is often confused with lock-down treatment centers, which are required to have eyes-on every so often due to behavioral and mental challenges of the children and youth they serve.

There are also less restrictive forms of group homes, which often use the house parent model. Those organizations are due to their visual comparability to several foster families within a certain area as well as their connectedness to each other, the community, and internally best described as residential child care communities.

  1. Supportive Community Options for Adults with Disabilities

Another type of group home is the supportive community options for adults with disabilities. Newer options of group living are often termed supported living, supported housing, individual and family supports, or early on, “individualized supportive living arrangements” (e.g., apartment programs).

Independent living continued to be a primary framework representing another emblem of community living more often associated with personal assistance and live-in attendants, home health services, and the now termed allied health services of physical and occupational therapy, speech, cognitive therapy, and psychological counseling.

However, leading psychiatric survivors examined independent living in the context of supportive housing and necessary support services which did not need to be congregated in housing.

  1. Group Options for Seniors with Disabilities

Possibly, the largest group of group homes (now termed community residential services or residential care by other managements) fall under the heading of residential care homes for seniors, or both seniors and individuals with disabilities. Residential care categories include over 43 separate regulated categories by state governments.

Group facilities (e.g., funded as large as 100 individuals in a nursing facility or on the old-style campus of over 12 wards on the outskirts of cities) or homes for seniors (e.g., room and board) are designed for seniors who cannot live on their own due to physical or mental disabilities.

Group facilities, which may involve over half of the allotted beds or more (80 percent) funded by Medicaid, might also be found under Residential Care Home, Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, or Assisted Living Facility. Alternative community options for these seniors are home health care, hospice care, specialized care (e.g., Alzheimer’s), day care at senior centers, meals on wheels, transportation drivers, and other aging and disability options.

What is a Level 1 – 14 Group Home?

Level 1 – 14 Group Home is defined as a facility of any capacity which provides 24-hour nonmedical care and supervision to children in a structured environment, with such services provided at least in part by staff employed by the home. Level 14 group homes provide psychiatric services to seriously emotionally disturbed children.

Level 1 – 14 Group Home is open to only minors under the age of 18 years who have a mental disorder, other than a primary substance use disorder or developmental disorder, which results in behavior inappropriate to the child’s age according to expected developmental norms.

CDSS classifies group homes by levels. The levels range from 1 to 14, and are classified based upon:

  • The level or intensity of care, AND
  • The services provided by the home.

The higher the number of hours provided per child in three service areas, the higher the rating. The three service areas are:

  • Childcare and Supervision,
  • Social Work Activities, and
  • Mental Health Treatment Services.

Please note that the highest two classification levels 13 and level 14 group home, are required by law to provide intensive psychiatric services.

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