Group homes for teens are available and used for many reasons. Parents may need to send away a troubled teen, or a teen may be suffering a disorder or substance abuse problem, or a teen may be left without a family and nowhere else to go. These group homes aim to help the teen live in a safe, encouraging environment, although this is not always the case if a home does not have proper funding, support or volunteers.

History

Group homes for teens have been around since the 1960s. When they originally emerged, they were not in good condition and were mainly used for runaways, started by runaways. Over the years, small, housing facilities placed within society have acted as a haven for runaways, troubled or abandoned teens. At one time, many people were skeptical about teen group homes because they felt they were similar to psychiatric hospitals, drug houses or brothels. Eventually, statistics and tests involving group homes have shown that teens who have lived within group homes have routinely shown a positive increase in self-esteem and independence, adaptive behavior, stable lifestyle and community integration. They are usually started and run by older mentors--most with social work, therapy experience or psychology degrees.

Function

Teen group homes are designed in order to provide private families for teens who need help or a place to go. They provide shelter, sometimes education and therapy, nourishment, safety, and hopefully a way to connect with others who want to get back on their feet. It places teens in a place where they can live for a certain period, usually extended, and stabilize themselves. The aim is to help teach the teen problem-solving skills, common sense, maturity, a sense of responsibility and develop self-esteem in order for them to live a healthy, successful lifestyle after leaving.

Types

There are many types of groups homes for teens. They are bought by administrators and opened as a residential place for teens. They can be for a specific problem or reason, or it can be a large home dealing with combined issues that troubled teens encounter. Group homes for teens can be for any of the following: drug abuse, depression, suicide, ADD/ADHD, alcohol use, pregnancy, behavior problems, smoking, conduct disorders, eating disorders, violence, anger, learning disabilities, bipolar disorders or at-risk youth. Each group home focuses on the specific problems that teens are having, and these homes are prevalent in society without sticking out among other residential homes.

Considerations

There are many things to consider when deciding whether one should be sent to a group home. It's a big decision, and intensive research and thought should be put into the decision. The teen should be evaluated and tested thoroughly to see if he is in high-risk categories for his situation or behavior. You want to make sure you find a group home for a teen that provides a home-like environment, has a well-trained and patient staff and a satisfactory teen-to-staff ratio. These homes are known for benefiting a teen's lifestyle when living there, but there are also instances in which the home has made a teen's situation worse because of improper funding, support, administration and environment. It can also increase negative and unhealthy behavior in a teen, though it can also counteract this behavior.

Misconceptions

A popular misconception about group homes for teens is that they mostly all spur a negative living environment because of lack of funding. This may be true in certain cases, but for the most part teens grow and mature in group homes, and they end up with the ability to stabilize themselves upon leaving the group home. It is also a misconception to think that group homes for teens always spur alcoholism, drug usage or promiscuity.