In May 2018, the Pennsylvania State Roundtable commissioned the Congregate Care Workgroup. The new workgroup was given the following three tasks:
- Examine congregate care for the purpose of significant reduction and/or elimination of congregate care.
- Identify effective alternatives to the use of congregate care for dependent youth.
- Assist Pennsylvania in the implementation of the Family First Prevention Act.
Due to the potential complexities within the topic, three chairpersons were selected. These chairpersons represent large, medium and smaller jurisdictions that have successfully reduced the use of congregate care in their respective jurisdictions. The chairpersons are the Honorable Walter Olszewski, Supervising Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia; the Honorable Michael Sholley, Judge, Court of Common Pleas Union and Snyder Counties and Bill Browning, Director, Lackawanna County Youth and Family Services, Department of Human Services. To view the current Committee members, click here.
With nearly 2,600 dependent children in congregate care placements at a cost of $133+ million per year, the Workgroup began the task of examining the issue. The Workgroup examined research; state and national data; adolescent psychosocial development; county, state, and national promising practices; alternatives to congregate care and specific strategies that could accomplish its tasks. In its first year of operations, the Workgroup identified fifteen (15) strategies and practices that could assist jurisdictions in significantly reducing and/or eliminating congregate care use.
The Workgroup also outlined information provided by congregate care facilities, state education, child welfare and mental health offices, behavioral health managed care organizations, content experts, and community providers. Finally the Workgroup made ten (10) preliminary conclusions that may reduce and/or eliminate the need for congregate care and five recommendations for ongoing work.
To view the Congregate Care Workgroup report, click here.