"All the King's Horses, His women and men with the King put broken children together again."
All The King's Horses Children's Ranch
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The number of children in the home can and often does fluctuate. The children’s length of stay often varies due to a law that states children are to be placed in the “least restrictive environment.” Kinship placement is the least restrictive, then foster homes, then group homes (which is what we are officially considered)... It goes on from there to more restrictive settings. As you can see, we are not the least restrictive placement.
Sometimes we are sent children because the state does not have a kinship home or foster home to place them in. As soon as one becomes available, the children are usually moved. These children may be here from a day to several months. Our average has been from a few days to maybe 60 days.
Sometimes we are sent kids that are not working out in kinship or foster placements due to emotional/behavior issues. These children require a “higher level of care.” AKA: need a tighter environment and closer supervision than what a typical family can provide. Group homes would then be considered “the least restrictive environment.” These children stay until they are either returned home, sent to a relative or family who is willing to take guardianship or adopt or both, or until they age out, disrupt and go to a higher level of care, or stabilize and are able to move back down to a kinship or foster home. These children can stay with us for a day or for years. Our personal average for children in this category has been from about six months to a year.
Sometimes we are sent sibling groups because they want to keep the children together and even though they are okay for lower levels of care, there is nowhere else for them to go where they can all be kept together. These children may stay with us for days or years. Our average for this group has been from about six months to a year.