The El Paso County Department of Human Services is changing its practice to try and reduce the number of young people in care outside the home, or congregate care. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Congregate care refers to youth living in group homes and residential centers in a non-family setting. Studies have shown that youth removed from biological parents, do better in another family setting. DHS Director Rick Bengtsson says it’s not a change in policy for the department, but a change in practice and use of resources.

“If you realize that a residential treatment center can cost upwards of $6000 a month for a youth, if we could reduce those by 30% that frees up maybe a million, 2 million dollars, that we can actually take those dollars and reinvest in prevention or licensing kinship placements. Again, family-like settings that are best for kids.”

The changes are a result of a partnership between DHS and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which analyzed how children are placed in congregate care in the county. Some of the reforms include more frequent review of youth care, better identification of kinship, and better adaptability. Bengtsson says the department has already seen a positive impact.

 

Comments are closed.

News

AP
October 21, 2014 | NPR · Do big-city chiefs like John Deasy, recently ousted from LA Unified, get enough time to make a difference?
 

NPR
October 21, 2014 | NPR · Until August, 24-year-old Aza Betwata was in Holland, enjoying beef and cabbage and studying to be a social worker. Now, he’s among the hundreds of exiled Kurds who have returned and taken up arms.
 

Courtesy of Jesse Dukes
October 21, 2014 | NPR · The Confederate flag is a sign of bigotry to some. For others, says reporter Jesse Dukes, it symbolizes family heritage and defiance — but also what he calls a “willful innocence” about U.S. history.
 

Arts & Life

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 20, 2014 | NPR · Joel Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding. His new book is called The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.
 

iStockphoto
October 20, 2014 | NPR · When police pulled a gun on Bryan Stevenson as he was sitting quietly in his car in Atlanta, he knew he had to effect change. His memoir describes his attempts, including freeing men on death row.
 

AFP/Getty Images
October 20, 2014 | NPR · The Nobel laureate taught at Princeton University for 17 years. Now, her papers — some 180 linear feet of them — are returning to be housed in the school’s library. Also: a roundup of new releases.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
October 21, 2014 | NPR · From our panel of public-radio hosts to you: a hand-picked sampler of free downloads, including new music from Son Little, Ty Segall, Rome Fortune, Kaytranada, Allo Darlin’ and more.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 21, 2014 | NPR · The singer and activist tackles jazz standards, including “Strange Fruit” and others, on her new album. Here, she and NPR’s Steve Inskeep discuss how she connects with the present through the past.
 

NPR
October 20, 2014 | NPR · D’Amato’s new album The Shipwreck From The Shore can feel Motown-y, garage-y and Springsteen-y, and all that production serves his songs well. But here the Tiny Desk, his music is sparer.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab