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Juvenile Out-of-Home Placement

NCJ Number
Joel Alter; Dan Jacobson; John Patterson
Date Published
113 pages
Due to questions about whether Minnesota's existing system of juvenile out-of-home placement is meeting juveniles' needs and counties' concern about increasing placement costs, the Legislative Audit Commission commissioned a study of the system; findings are presented in this report.
Some of the issues examined were how counties and courts decide when to make placements, the adequacy of the screening and assessment of children, the amount and patterns of placement spending, characteristics of children placed, the adequacy of placement beds, and the sufficiency of information on the performance and operation of the system. To address these issues, the study analyzed existing statewide information on child placements and their costs. Researchers also surveyed county corrections supervisors, human services directors, and district court judges throughout the State. Seven counties were visited, and case information was reviewed for more than 250 juveniles. Overall, the study concludes that Minnesota generally has a more pressing need for additional nonresidential services for its juveniles than additional residential services. Minnesota does not appear to face significant statewide shortages of beds (with the possible exception of foster care), although the services in existing residential facilities do not always adequately address the needs of juveniles in placement. Minnesota has little information on the effectiveness of services for juveniles. The study recommends that the legislature and State agencies take steps to improve information on service outcomes. 39 tables and 10 figures