DHS issues evaluation of group homes and institutions

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services has issued its second report on congregate care facilities supported by public funds.

The Congregate Care Report is a measurement of quality and compliance factors at congregate care facilities for both dependent and delinquent youth.

One of the main priorities of DHS is to decrease the use of congregate care. Over the past few years we have made substantial progress in achieving this goal with children and youth being placed as close to home as possible. Between 2014 and 2020 there has been a 50% decline in the number of dependent youth in congregate care and an 86% decline in the number of delinquent youth. Though we are proud of this work, it is also important that we continually monitor congregate care facilities to ensure youth receive the highest quality services possible.

This report uses a research-driven and transparent process to ensure quality services that support children and families.  Seven different domains have been assessed using staff files, youth case files, and administrative data.

Here are the highlights from the fiscal year 2020 Report.

Fiscal year 2020 has seen an improvement over FY2019. Findings from the FY2020 report place the average overall system score at 88%, while in FY2019 the overall system score was 72%.

Providers remained strong in measures associated with regulation compliance, particularly in the areas of health, safe and supportive environment, and staff.

For example, all or almost all providers received optimal scores on:

• Ensuring youth receive routine and necessary medical and dental care
• Proper staff to youth ratio
• Securing medication
• Obtaining all required criminal and child abuse clearances

Agencies’ ratings also reflected solid practices in many indicators associated with quality of care—an improvement from last year. For example, while integrating cultural awareness was an area of growth last year, 96% of case files showed that youth had opportunities to engage in developmentally appropriate extracurricular, social, and cultural activities. 

Similar to last year, agencies need to improve Individual Service Plans, which are a core component of youths’ service. Overall, agencies need to do more to include youth in the development of their service plans and communicate about service plans and progress with relevant stakeholders.

Download the full report here.