The Implementation of Maternity Group Home Programs: Serving Pregnant and Parenting Teens in a Residential Setting. GCAPP Second Chance Homes (Georgia)

04/22/2005

Basic Program Structure. The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP) operates a statewide network of eight maternity group homes, serving 44 teenage mothers and their babies. The GCAPP program began serving teens in 2001 and is funded primarily by the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR). The eight GCAPP homes have flexibility in determining their daily operations and procedures. However, the homes all offer a similar set of services and serve similar populations. GCAPP provides technical assistance and support to the homes in its network, helping them troubleshoot when challenges arise, such as issues involving resident behavior or government regulations. GCAPP also convenes regular meetings with program managers to provide training and discuss issues relevant to all the homes.

Funding Sources and Levels. GCAPP receives $1.4 million annually from DHR to fund the homes and provide them with assistance and support. Grants from GCAPP to individual homes currently range from about $100,000 to $150,000 per year and make up about a third of the operating budgets of these homes. Most of the rest of their funding comes directly from DHR as payments for providing shelter and services to children in state custody. Some homes also receive funding from charitable organizations and individual donations. The average monthly cost per resident family served ranges across the eight GCAPP homes from about $4,300 to as much as $6,700. In general, smaller facilities, as well as those offering more intensive support services and serving higher risk teens, have higher costs.

  GCAPP Second Chance Homes (Georgia) St. Andre
Group Homes (Maine)
Teen Living
Program (Massachusetts)
Teen Parent Supportive Housing Services Collaborative (Michigan) Teen Parent Program
(New Mexico)
Inwood House Maternity Residence
(New York)
Friends of Youth Transitional Living Program (Washington)
Table A.1. General Characteristics of the Seven Study Programs
Sponsoring Agency/
Management Structure
Fairly centralized program overseen by GCAPP in partnership with Georgia Dept. of Human Resources Very centralized program managed by Saint Andre Homes, Inc. Very centralized program managed by Massachusetts Dept. of Social Services Fairly decentralized program funded and overseen by Wayne County Family Independence Agency Decentralized program funded and overseen by New Mexico Children, Youth, and Family Dept. Very centralized program run by Inwood House Very centralized program run by Friends of Youth
Program Capacity
(Families) and Number of Homes
44 in 8 homes 16 in 4 homes 167 in 20 homes 34 in 3 homes 38 in 5 homes 36 in 1 home 20 in 2 homes
Key Funding Sources State TANF funds and federal child welfare funds for foster care placements Mainly from Medicaid funds; also state funds for residential services for young mothers Mainly state TANF funds; some state child welfare funds Mainly from HUD Supportive Housing Program grant; also other HUD grants, United Way, private donations Primarily from state funds allocated for teen parent services, also HUD and child welfare Funded primarily through federal child welfare funds for foster care placements; also some Medicaid funding Mainly HUD funding, with additional help from the United Way and private donations
Approximation of Average Monthly Cost per Resident Family $4,300 to $6,700 $8,600 (includes health service costs paid by Medicaid) $3,500 to $4,800 $1,200 to $4,200 $1,300 to $3,300 $6,000 $1,300 to $3,200
Main Referral Sources Primarily regional child welfare agencies Primarily regional child welfare agencies; also hospitals, shelters, schools Primarily state welfare agency; also regional child welfare agencies Primarily county welfare agency Schools, hospitals, child welfare, juvenile justice All referrals from
New York City child
welfare agency
Public health clinics, foster care, shelters, crisis hotlines, other social service organizations
Key Eligibility Requirements 13-20, pregnant or parenting, no other appropriate adult-supervised setting, no history of serious drug use or violence 15-29, pregnant or parenting, Medicaid eligible, not violent or active drug user, willing to follow program rules 13-20, pregnant or parenting, no other appropriate adult-supervised setting, on TANF or active child welfare case 15-18, pregnant and parenting, on TANF, no other appropriate place to live, parental consent if under 18 Under 22, pregnant or parenting, willing to follow rules, and Medicaid eligible. Under 21, pregnant,
and in New York City foster care system
18-21, pregnant or parenting, homeless by HUD definition, no severe mental health problem, not violent or active drug user
Core Program Services 24-hr (awake) supervision, life skills classes 3-4 hrs/wk, case management, tutoring, mental health counseling 24-hr supervision, life skills classes 3-4 hrs/wk, case management, mental health counseling 24-hr (awake at most homes ) supervision, life skills classes 3-4 hrs/wk, case management, outreach to fathers 24-hr (awake at most homes) supervision, life skills classes 3-4 hrs/wk, case management, some tutoring 24-hr supervision, life skills classes 1-2 hrs/wk, case management, some tutoring 24-hr (awake) supervision, health, child birth, and life skills classes 7 hrs/wk, case management, on-site school, outreach to fathers Staff on site at most times, life skills classes about once a week, case management
GCAPP = Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

Eligibility Rules and Referral Sources. To participate in the GCAPP program, teenage mothers must be between the ages of 13 and 20, have no history of serious drug use or violent criminal behavior, and have a current living situation that is considered unsafe or inappropriate. The program serves both pregnant and parenting teens. However, state regulations seriously limit the number of pregnant teens the homes can serve. For this reason, most teens have already had their babies before they enter the program. Teens may voluntarily enter the homes with the permission of their parents or guardians. However, it is more common for teens who enter the homes to be in state custody through either the foster care or juvenile justice systems. Referrals are generally handled by individual homes; GCAPP is not involved. About two-thirds of referrals are from local child welfare agencies, while about 10 percent are from juvenile justice. Other referrals come from a mix of sources, including schools, churches, hospitals, health clinics, community organizations, and family members.

Setting and Structure of the Homes. The eight GCAPP homes are located throughout Georgia: two in the metropolitan Atlanta area, one in the mid-size city of Columbus and the rest in small towns. All homes involve congregate living, in which the teens share living, dining, and kitchen areas. In all the homes, teens have their own bedrooms that they share with their babies. Most are in converted single-family homes in quiet residential areas and can serve five or six teens and their children. One home near Atlanta is in a newly constructed facility that can serve eight teen families and includes two separate apartments for house parents. Another home in southern Georgia is part of a campus of residential and educational facilities for disadvantaged and troubled youth. The latter home is operated by a social service organization that has been providing residential services to children in this location for almost 100 years.

Staffing Patterns. Although there is some variation, the basic staffing pattern at each of the GCAPP homes is fairly similar. All provide a very high level of supervision for their residents, including staff on site 24 hours a day and low resident-to-staff ratios. These staffing patterns are required by state law for facilities that house minors in state custody, as these homes do. State regulation requires a 6-to-1 resident-to-staff ratio (counting both the teen mothers and their children) during waking hours and a 10-to-1 ratio at night. In accordance with state regulations for children in foster care, teens are generally not allowed to leave the home unless they are accompanied by a group home staff member. Homes typically have two or three full-time staff members with advanced degrees: a program director, who manages the daily operations of the home and its staff, and one or two case managers. The homes also have a number of “advocates” who provide general supervision for residents. These staff may be part-time and typically do not have advanced degrees.

Core Program Services. The eight homes all offer a similar set of services, including weekly parenting and life-skills classes taught by the group home staff. These classes use the Minnesota Early Design (MELD) curriculum, which was specially designed to teach parenting skills to at-risk adolescent parents and to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. Classes cover a variety of topics, including child development and health, family management, and other parenting issues. The GCAPP program places strong emphasis on mental health services, and all teen residents receive regular individual therapy sessions. Some homes have licensed therapists on staff, while others contract with an outside therapist to provide this service. Residents also meet weekly with their case manager to review progress toward meeting their personal goals concerning parenting, education, and health. Homes also offer guided study and tutoring services, as well as transportation to medical appointments, educational events, and group outings.

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