Group Homes

There are different levels and types of group homes, but some requirements are the same for every home and are listed below.

Can a group home discipline or punish me? What are they allowed to do as discipline?

Each group home should have written policies of discipline and behavior management and this should be given to you when you first arrive at the group home. Discipline should focus on positive method such as praise and encouragement for learning self control and having good behavior. There should be ways to protect you or others when you or another youth’s behavior could put themselves or others in danger.

Can I be locked in a room if I misbehave?

No. If you are sent to another room for discipline, it must be unlocked, lighted, and well-ventilated and must have at least 50 square feet and is close enough for a staff member to hear you. You must not be isolated like this for more than 60 minutes.

What are some things group home staff cannot do?

Group home staff must never:

  • Use physical punishment of any kind
  • Intimidate, make fun of, or verbally abuse you.
  • Use chemical or mechanical restraints.
  • Treat you in a way that iscruel or humiliating or other emotionally abusive behavior.
  • Make you do excessive exercise or work duties that are not appropriate for your age or development
  • Deny you food, clothing, shelter, medical care or therapeutic activities, contacts with family, case manager or your attorney or Guardian ad litem as a form of punishment.
  • Threaten you with removal from the facility.
  • Disrciminate against you or harass you on the basis of your race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability, or any other characteristic.
  • Allow harassment or bullying  by staff or other youth based on their race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, or any other characteristic.
  • Try to change or discourage your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

What kind of food will I get at a group home?

All group homes must serve three well-balanced meals a day in the morning, noon, and evening and provide snacks between meals. The menus must be approved by a professional registered dietitian to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need, and the staff is supposed to eat the same meals you eat. The group home should keep a list of the food they are giving you to be reviewed by the state.

What if I have to eat only certain kinds of food, or if I am allergic to foods?

Your case manager should have provided information to the group home if you have allergies or other special needs. If you are not getting the food that you need and like to eat, contact your case manager, your Guardian ad litem or attorney if you have one, and report it to the judge at your next court hearing.

What other things can I expect when living in a group home?

  • The group home should have written policies about community activities and services available to you. They should arrange for transportation to activities so that you can be a part of the community.
  • The group home must make sure any public appearances or “publicity” are voluntary (your choice) and that your parent gives permission
  • There should be a list of indoor and outdoor activities for you to get involved in.
  • You can be assigned age appropriate chores as long as they do not conflict with school or visits with family.
  • -You must have time each day for privacy and to engage in interests and hobbies.
  • The group home must make sure you have all hygiene items you need and that you have access to them unless it is unsafe for you.
  • The group home must make sure you have training in personal care and hygiene that is appropriate for your age, gender, gender expression, race, culture, and development
  • The group home must make sure you have all the clothing that you need and make sure you are involved in caring for and picking out your clothes.
  • You must be allowed to bring your personal belongings but some of these could be limited or supervised (such as tablet-time) but must not be restricted due to your gender identity or expression
  • The group home must respect your religion and must make arrangements for a different activity if you do not want to attend religious services
  • They must treat you with respect and understand your history and needs
  • The group home must give you an allowance every month and should document when they do so. You must get allowance monthly and allowance must not be tied to behavior or chores. You must not be expected to purchase hygiene items, school supplies, clothing or other necessary items. Allowance cannot be withheld for punishment. The group home must also keep your money safe.
  • You must be allowed contact with your family and other connections you have unless the contact violates a court order
  • You must be allowed to contact your case manager, your guardian ad litem and attorney if you have one, and the Children’s Ombudsman

Who will take me to the doctor when I am sick or need a check up?

The group home is required to meet all of your medical needs including taking you to the doctor, dentist, and any other medical or mental health specialists

What are maternity group homes?

If you are pregnant and in foster care or already have a child, you may be able to live in a maternity group home.

Who will be my caregiver in a maternity group home?

The group home will have staff with special training in working with teen parents.

What kind of services will I get in a maternity group home?

You should expect to get the following services:

  • Prenatal and child birth education
  • Parenting education
  • Water safety education
  • Counseling
  • Clinical services to address trauma and parent/child relationships
  • Ongoing staffings to address your needs and your child’s needs
  • Training on infant safety, nutrition, and safe sleep practices
  • A daycare referral for your child so you can work or go to school and transportation for your child to and from daycare
  • Assistance with diapers, food, and clothing

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