Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Talks about Group Home Placements

A recent report published by a major child welfare research group has revealed that approximately fifty seven thousand of the four hundred thousand children in the American child welfare system live in group homes. This study is particularly relevant to Mississippi, because the percentage of foster children living in group homes is slightly higher than the national average.

Many group homes are designed for children who face specific behavioral challenges. Forty percent of the children who are living in group homes do not have the behavioral challenges that the homes are designed to accommodate. In theory, in child custody cases, group homes are supposed to be pretty far down on the list of desirable placements, far behind family members and other less restrictive placements. What’s more, when children are placed into restrictive placements like group homes, social services agencies are supposed to provide a justification for doing so. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

Family members are able to become licensed foster parents through an expedited process, so that children can be placed in their homes as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, not all family members who are willing to become foster parents are able to obtain certification, so non-family licensed foster homes become the next best option. The demand for licensed foster homes currently exceeds the supply, and that is how children who do not need the type of care that is provided by group homes often end up there, for lack of a better alternative.

The reason that the current shortage of licensed foster homes in Mississippi is such an important issue is that children who are able to remain in stable, family-centered placements are likely to have better outcomes than those who are not because of the support that a family can offer during a difficult time in the child’s life. Perhaps even more importantly, the children who are most often affected by the shortage of foster homes are older kids and teens. These are the children who are most often sent to group homes when group home care is not needed. This can have a negative impact on the outcome of their experience, because the turbulent world of adolescence is a time during which the stabilizing and positive effects of being part of a family are very much needed.

If you are a parent whose child is involved in a child custody case, it is important to proceed with a Mississippi Child Custody Attorney by your side. Your attorney can help you to understand your options, as well as the path that your particular type of child custody case is likely to follow. In a child custody case, there is so much at stake. You and your family deserve the very best in experienced and compassionate legal assistance. To learn more about how Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you with your child custody case, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Talks about Group Home Placements
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Mississippi Child Custody Attorney discusses group home placements for children.

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