Juvenile delinquency in child welfare: Investigating group home effects

Joseph P. Ryan, Jane Marie Marshall, Denise Herz, Pedro M. Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


Group homes fall into the broad category of residential care, a category that also includes half-way homes, campus based homes, emergency shelters, self-contained settings, and staff secured setting. In general, residential care services represent an option of last resort. In the current study we use administrative records from a large urban county and propensity score matching to investigate the relationship between group home placements in child welfare and the risk of delinquency (n = 8226). The results indicate that the relative risk of delinquency is approximately two and one half times greater for adolescents with at least one group home placement as compared with youth in foster care settings. This finding raises serious questions about the use of group homes for victims of physical abuse and neglect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1088-1099
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the Silberman Fund Faculty Grant Program and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Campus Research Board.


  • Foster care
  • Group homes
  • Juvenile delinquency


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