• Is the program going to support the parents when their child or young adult comes home?
  • Does the program keep children or young adults involved in community activities even when they are in care?
  • Does the program prepare young adults to live independently?

Among the most difficult times for children and young adults as well as their families are the transitions into and out of residential care. The best providers ensure that your child or young adult and your family have the educational, vocational, family, and community supports needed during and after discharge.

These connections produce the best outcomes. As much as possible, high quality programs involve children and young adults in the community and use approaches that carry over into life back home.

They teach families how to use these techniques to maintain their gains. All children and young adults need to be learning skills that will help them be successful in the community. In contrast, some programs use point and level systems (where a child has to earn a certain number of points to progress to a higher level of privileges and at times can be set back for failures). Depending on how these are structured, they may or may not prepare children to cope outside of residential care. For children who are leaving residential care as young adults, quality programs ensure that they have a place to go that will support them and that there is appropriate aftercare, education, and job training or placement arranged in advance. Other questions to ask:

  • How will you prepare my child or young adult for transitions?
  • What techniques will you use with my child and young adult that we can use at home to help?
  • How will you be sure my child or young adult has the life skills they need to function in the world?
  • What can be done to support my young adult who wants to live on their own after discharge?