There was a time when any children with a disability went into a group home. These were large facilities with little emotional contact between the workers and the children. The point was to free the parents and keep the children secluded from society.
Thankfully that model of “care” is long gone. Most large group homes were closed down. In fact there has been a huge swing in the opposite direction. The trend is to keep children out of group homes (which are now much smaller and better run) and to put them into foster families.
In many cases this is for the best. For those children that are higher functioning, it is better to have that family setting. They can have good opportunities for community involvement. This setting can feel more “normal” for many children.
Does this mean that the days of the group home are long gone? I don’t think so.
Two of our children live in group homes. I just can’t see how it would work for them to live in a foster home. The reason that they do not live with us it that their needs are too great to live in a family setting. Logan would run off on a regular basis and Abby would be destructive toward both the house and the people.
Logan and Abby are thriving in their group homes. These homes are equipped to care for them in a way that a family (including us) could never do. They are not hidden from society. In fact they are more involved in community activities than our other three children. Logan is the only one of our children to go to Canada’s Wonderland.
While I understand that there is a desire to move care into a family setting, it is just not practical for all children. Those who have higher needs, such as our children, may still need group homes. These are not the cold and sterile group homes of previous generations. These are loving and fun group homes where children can thrive in an active environment.
I am glad that there are these kind of group homes available. They have saved our relationships with our children.