CCR and Education Report


One of the major goals of California's Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) initiative is to reduce the use of congregate care, and ensure that all foster children and youth are placed in family settings whenever possible.  CCR is intended to limit the use of congregate care to youth who have high-level mental health or other safety or treatment needs that cannot be met in a family setting.  Existing group homes must convert to Short-Term Residential Treatment Programs (STRTPs), which will provide intensive mental health treatment and other services, with a focus not on long-term custodial care but on stabilizing high-needs youth and addressing issues that present barriers to their safety and well-being so that they can transition as quickly as possible to a family setting.  STRTP programs must have capacity to support parents and caregivers in preparing for a youth's transition, and to continue providing services and supports to youth and families after youth transition to family settings.

How will this change affect education outcomes for foster youth?  Available data show that youth in congregate care currently have dramatically poor education outcomes - even compared to other foster youth.[1]   As the state and counties implement CCR, it will be critical to preserve a focus on improving educational outcomes, because conversion of group homes to STRTPs presents complex and difficult education issues - and a risk of unintended negative effects on education.

[1] See Wiegmann, W., Putnam-Hornstein, E., Barrat, V.X., Magruder, J., and Needell, B. (2014), The Invisible Achievement Gap Part 2L How the Foster Care Experiences of California Public School Students are Associated with Their Educational Outcomes, at pp. 26-33.