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

LA Times via Getty Images
June 29, 2015 | NPR · Children who have specific medical problems, like immune system deficiencies, would be exempt from vaccinations as long as they have confirmation from their doctor.
 

Getty Images
June 29, 2015 | NPR · Millions listen to services like Spotify and Pandora, but relatively few of them subscribe. Why should they when there are so many free options? The new Apple Music will only be free for 3 months.
 

AP
June 29, 2015 | NPR · Greeks have lurched from one crisis to another in recent years and have learned to cope with uncertainty. Still, many are worried about what could happen when Greece misses a payment Tuesday.
 

Arts & Life

iStockphoto
June 29, 2015 | NPR · A hot bread basket is a tasty way to start off dinner. But all those carbs before the main fare can amp up appetite and spike blood sugar. Saving the carbs for the end of the meal can help avert that.
 

 NPR
June 29, 2015 | NPR · We have a conversation with one of our favorite regular-book enthusiasts about the special matter of the audiobook.
 

June 29, 2015 | NPR · As a biracial child growing up in Philadelphia, writer Mat Johnson identified as black – but looked white. His new novel is about a man who returns to his hometown after inheriting a run-down mansion.
 

Music

Getty Images
June 29, 2015 | NPR · Millions listen to services like Spotify and Pandora, but relatively few of them subscribe. Why should they when there are so many free options? The new Apple Music will only be free for 3 months.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 29, 2015 | WXPN · Oli Bayston might record under the name Boxed In, but his smooth piano work is anything but limited.
 

Jeremy Zimmerman / WXPN
June 29, 2015 | WXPN · McMurtry writes wonderfully detailed narrative songs, making his characters come alive.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab