A Place to Feel at Home? An Exploratory Study of the Perceived Living Environment in Home-Like Groups, Family-Style Group Homes, and Traditional Residential Youth Care

Y. G. Riemersma*, A. E. Zijlstra, M. E. Kalverboer, W. J. Post, A. T. Harder

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Abstract

    Traditionally, residential youth care (RYC) in the Netherlands has been characterized by short-term placements, groups with relatively large numbers of youth (8–12), often located on a campus with several RYC units. Recently, alternative RYC settings have been developed to create a home-like environment and promote stability. These alternative settings are characterized by long-term care, smaller groups (typically 6), and placements within the community. Examples of alternative RYC settings are home-like groups and family-style group homes (with live-in professionals). We aimed to gain insight into the perceived living environment in different RYC settings from the perspectives of 26 youth, 14 parents, and 35 professionals. Quantitative data were collected using q-methodology. To deal with the small sample size, we used a triangulation of techniques: the Mokken scale, Mann-Whitney, and by-person factor analyses to explore differences in perceived living environments between RYC settings. We found that participants in home-like groups experienced significantly more sensitivity from professionals than did participants in traditional RYC. Participants in alternative RYC tended to emphasize sensitivity, while participants in traditional RYC tended to emphasize factual conditions. Alternative RYC may provide more opportunities than traditional RYC for youth to experience an environment with sensitive professionals and a positive group atmosphere.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalResidential Treatment for Children and Youth
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29-Mar-2024

    Keywords

    • Family-style group homes
    • Home-like groups
    • Living environment
    • Mokken scale analysis
    • Q-methodology

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