A roundup of some of The Imprint’s most impactful stories from the past year
Last year, The Imprint teamed up with The San Francisco Chronicle to expose California’s use of out-of-state residential facilities to house youth in foster care or on juvenile probation. One of those programs — Michigan’s Lakeside Academy, operated by the for-profit company Sequel Youth and Family Services — was the site of tragedy in 2020, when teenager Cornelius Frederick was killed by staff who restrained him in the cafeteria.
Frederick’s death, and increased scrutiny of Sequel’s operations around the country, set the stage for a year of calls to either limit or abolish entirely the use of congregate care facilities in the child welfare system.
A year after hurriedly bringing children home during the coronavirus pandemic, California banned the practice of placing youth in out-of-state residential programs. The Legislature also added $139 million to help counties develop local alternatives.
The Imprint followed up with counties to find out what happened to the youth who were brought back to California during the pandemic. The majority were placed with family or foster parents, prompting questions about the need for those out-of-state options in the first place.
A qualitative study done by and for foster youth led authors to recommend an end to group care in child welfare.
The movement to curb and better regulate congregate care in America gained an unlikely champion in 2021: celebrity and actress Paris Hilton.
Opinion: Jody Levison-Johnson of Social Current shares some thoughts on what Congress should focus on in increasing the quality and limiting the scope of congregate care.
Listen: At the end of his interview with The Imprint Weekly Podcast, Chapin Hall’s Bryan Samuels discussed how his own experience with the child welfare system shaped his perspective on the use of group settings for youth.