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Introduction/ Background

A sick, unemployed mother has hit the breaking point and can no longer care for her 8year-old twin sons. The children appear to very underweight and timid. It has come time to do
what is best for the kids. The environment is not a safe, healthy place for children. The mother of
theses two boys is clearly a negative influence. The two 8-year-old boys have a look of fear on
their face as they are taken out of the home. It will be the last look the mother sees of her two
sons. The children dont know what is in store next for their future. All they have is each other.
Will it be enough to get them through this tragic experience of losing their mother? Or will they
fail into the deep sorrows of the dark?
Do you have a special connection with an individual involved in foster care? One can not
truly understand or relate to living in the fear of the unexpected. Foster children face many
obstacles on a daily basis they must learn to cope with. In the ABC family show, The Fosters, a
16-year-old girl named Callie struggles to hang on throughout her journey in foster care. Callies
12-year-old brother, Jude, fights the same battles and emotions Callie is experiencing.
Throughout the show, Callie and Jude are moved around form foster home to foster home. It is a
long journey before The Fosters come into their lives and provide them with a stable, safe
environment to settle down in. Unfortunately, Callie makes a mistake once being taken in by The
Fosters. Callie runs away, thinking The Fosters will have a higher chance of adopting Jude if she
is not around. After Callie is brought back a decision is made in her best interest. Callie is sent to
live in a group home, Girls United, until The Fosters are ready to bring her back into there
home. Many foster children have emotional problems and dont feel a sense of belonging. Foster
children are at risk of developing such problems throughout their out-of-home placement.
Fortunately, group homes provide a stable living environment for those in need.
Before tracing the body of literature concerning the youth placed inside group homes, it
is significant to address my personal position on this topic. Throughout my experience watching
The Fosters, I have begun to understand what is must be like to live in the shoes of a foster child.
The show provides the audience with relatable experiences foster children face throughout their
lifespan. The Fosters is a real life example of individuals joining forces and becoming a family. I
have become fascinated how strong and determined foster children are to continue fighting
throughout their journeys. Despite the show, I have always had an interest in adopting a child
when I settle down. The Fosters has only enhanced my desire to become involved in foster care.
It is in my own personal interest after watching The Fosters to further research the contributions
a group home has on a foster child. This paper considers the concept of a group home and the
effects it is has on individuals. In other words, significance is placed on how placement stability
plays a major role in a foster childs life.

Comment [1]: Great introduction. It gives enough


background detail to inform the reader. Also, great
suspense is shown with the situation posed on the
boys and the mother. Ending the introduction with
questions also hooks the reader to continue reading to
find out the answers.

Review of Relevant Literature


The environment can have a major effect on foster children. Frequent placement changes are
often associated with negative outcomes. Placement stability has a significant impact on a foster
childs well being. In a recent study, unstable children were more likely to have behavior
problems than children who achieved early stability (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2007).
Group homes are targeted towards a specific population. Children placed in group homes may
have emotional or behavioral problems that require a more restrictive environment (Assignment
One). Individuals may be placed in a group home for a variety of reasons. Parental abuse/
neglect, behavioral problems, and delinquent behavior are common among the youth placed in

Comment [2]: Does this information go with the next


citation or just the previous sentence before it?

group homes. Group homes are considered less restrictive than juvenile detention centers but
more restrictive than family foster care placements (Development Services Group, 2008, par. 1).
These foster children are often the ones that need placement stability. Studies suggest that foster
children placed in group homes experience positive effects on their behavior. Small group
settings are often believed to encourage and promote disruptive behavior (Development Services
Group, 2008). Results of a study in a group home suggest that positive peer influences may
inhibit problem behaviors. Over 90 % of the youth in the group home did not have an increase in
problem behaviors (Lee, 2008) (Thompson, 2008). An environment such as a group home is a
beneficial way to help foster children get back on their feet. A group home is often the last step
and considered to be a saving grace for many individuals (The Storyboard Project, 2014).
Placement stability isnt the only factor affecting foster children. Many of the foster
children in group homes suffer from emotional, behavioral, or mental problems. Verlag (1995)
Group homes are important components of the system of mental health care for foster children.
In a recent study in five large residential group homes in South Carolina, the youth had
significant levels of substance abuse problems. These findings suggest the significance of
addressing the clinical needs inside group homes. (Assignment One) In Season One Episode 14,
Cole is taken to the hospital after an overdose. This provides evidence, foster children placed in
group homes are there for a reason. American of Pediatrics (2000) Foster children are often
exposed to high levels of stress. These levels of stress can place foster children at risk for poor
social, academic, and mental health outcomes. Repeated experiencing of traumatic events can
result in behaviors such as hyperactivity, anxiety, mood swings, impulsiveness, and sleep
problems. Alessandrini (2004), Feudtner (2004), Hadley (2004), Localio (2004), Mandell (2004),
and Rubin (2004) In a recent study, foster care instability was believed to be associated with
increased mental health costs during the first year in foster care. Of the 1635 children in the
study, 41 % had three or more foster care placements and 5 % had episodic foster care during the
year of observation. Group homes provide a more stable environment surrounded by positive
influences.

Entering the Conversation


Is there an underlying link between substance abuse and delinquency? Arrest and
intervention by the juvenile justice system are results for many individuals engaged in alcohol or
other drug use. It is not yet proven that substance abuse directly causes the delinquent behavior
young individuals are experiencing. There is, however, a strong correlation between the two.
Involvement with negative peer groups, family problems, academic failure, and lack of social
control all are relevant among youth involved in substance abuse. Nonetheless, is is safe to say
individuals isolated from substance abuse are not in danger of falling into these hardships?
Substance abuse is a major concern among our youth in todays society. Young people who
persistently abuse substances may experience an array of problems. Some of these problems may
include academic difficulties, health-related problems, and poor relationships. Substance abuse
does not only affect the individual, but there are consequences for the family members, the
community, and the entire society. Youth who abuse substances are usually looked at with great
disapproval by their peers. In addition, substance abuse can cause family crises and can drain a
familys financial and emotional resources. The abuse of alcohol and other drugs by youth may
result in greater demands for medical treatment.
Academics and substance abuse have a negative correlation. Declining grades and
increased potential for dropping out of school are problems associated with substance abuse. A
majority of the youth involved in alcohol and drug abuse experience cognitive and behavioral

Comment [3]: Your period needs to go on the outside of


your citation!

Comment [4]: I would suggest that you can combine


these 2 sentences because as of right now they seem
to be two separate ideas.

problems that may interfere with their school work as well. Many of the girls who enter Girls
United in The Fosters have some kind of background related to substance abuse. The girls are
required to do schoolwork while staying in the group home. An environment isolated from
substance abuse benefits an individuals education. Overall, substance abuse places a barrier on
ones academic performance.
Health- related problems are one of the major drawbacks linked to substance abuse.
Mental health problems such as depression, suicidal thoughts, and withdrawal. Substanceabusing youth are not only risking their lives but are placing themselves at a higher risk than
nonusers for mental health problems. Substance abuse may interfere with motivation and shortterm memory loss. As well as mental health, an individuals physical health is in danger as well.
Physical disabilities/diseases and injuries due to overdose are all consequences associated with
physical health. Substance abuse is responsible for a portion of the many injuries, such as a car
accident, that occur on a daily basis.
Substance abuse clearly has some negative effects on an individual. There has to be a
correlation between how an individual is changed when deciding to become involved in
alcohol/drugs. Youth in todays society are choosing to make the wrong decisions and are being
affected negatively. In The Fosters, we see how substance abuse has affected the girls. There is a
lot of tension and the girls are all very protective. If an individuals life is affected by substance
abuse isnt their behavior too?

Comment [5]: Good job transitioning all of your


paragraphs into each other. This really helps when
trying to figure out your next topic

Conclusion
In conclusion, group homes serve as a cushion for most foster children. Foster children have
been through a tremendous amount and entering a group home is usually their last hope.
However, emotional and behavioral problems are recurrent among individuals in a group home.
Would you be able to adjust to a new environment with no troubles? Individuals entering a group
home are placed there for a reason. Many have a background of juvenile detention for substance
abuse. Is there a possible link between delinquent behavior and substance abuse? It is important
to know the consequences of substance abuse that many young individuals are exposed to today.
Rita, the director of Girls United, may be able to help the girls better is she knows the direct
cause of their behavior and attitude. In todays society we are surrounded by individuals
involved in substance abuse. At some point in your life will you will have to interact with other
people who are different than you. By gaining information on substance abuse, we can become
aware of the negative effects of substance abuse. Being informed on how an individual is
affected by substance abuse helps the reader to better understand why the girls in Girls United
are the way they are. Should group homes be directed by more than one supervisor? Should
there be fewer girls living in one group home? Would stricter rules decrease violent behavior and
negative outcomes?

References
Alessandrini, E. Feudtner, C. Hadley, T. Localio, A. Mandell, D. Rubin, D. Placement Stability
and Mental Health Costs for Children in Foster Care. 18 October 2015. Retrieved
from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/5/1336.short

Comment [6]: I think by asking these questions and


making the reader think, it really helps the whole paper
come together as a whole. Good job!

American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care. 24
October 2015. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublicatio ns.org/cont
ent/106/5/1145.full
American Academy of Pediatrics. The impact of Placement Stability on Behavioral Well-Being
for Children in Foster Care. 13 October 2015. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappu
blicaations.org/content/119/2/336.short
Consequences of Youth Substance Abuse. 16 October 2015. Retrieved from
http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/drugid/ration-03.html
Developmental Services Group, Inc. 15 October 2015. Retrieved from
http://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/litreviews/Group_Homes.pdf.
Lee, B. Thompson, R. Examining Externalizing Behavior Trajectories of Youth in Group
Homes. 20 October 2015. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10
802008-9254-4
Pounds, M. Assignment One
The Storyboard Project. A Group Home Is Saving Grace for Former Foster Youth. 20 October
2015. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diD_SzOV9ic.
Verlag, S. Emotional Disturbance and Substance Abuse in Youth Placed in Residential Group
Homes. 16 October 2015. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/B
F025183