Out-of-Home (OOH) placement describes the situation of children who are in the care and custody of the State for a variety of reasons, and is often used when less restrictive interventions have failed. Children and youth may enter OOH placements for a variety of reasons including the following:
- Children who experience abuse or neglect may enter the child welfare system (e.g., kinship care, foster care). “Eighty percent of youth involved with the child welfare system require mental health intervention and services due to developmental, behavioral or emotional issues” (National Conference of State Legislatures).
- Delinquent youth may enter the juvenile justice system. “Sixty-seven to seventy percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder” (National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice).
- Children and youth with behavioral health disorders may enter care for residential treatment, either through a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) or though the public behavioral health system. “Children and youth in residential treatment centers, 69 percent of whom come from the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, have extremely high rates of mental and behavioral health disorders compared to the general population (National Center for Children in Poverty).
According to the FY2019 Out-of-Home Placement Report and Resource Guide, the County OOH placement rate for 2019 is 5.5. In actual numbers, the 2019 rate of 5.5 represents 661 County children and youth placed out-of-home.
The overarching Goal of the Lighthouse program is to reduce the out-of-home placements of children and youth by preventing entry or further penetration of the juvenile or adult justice system (e.g., detention), child welfare system (e.g., foster care or residential placement), and/or behavioral health system (e.g., psychiatric hospitalization or residential treatment). The Objective is to reduce the severity of or remedy the symptoms of the diagnosed behavioral health disorders of children and youth that may contribute to out-of-home placement.