Of the approximately 437,000 children in foster care, about 53,000 reside in congregate (group) care facilities. While congregate care plays a role in an effective continuum of care, there is consensus across the field that all children and youth, especially infants and toddlers, do best in families.
Over the last decade, there has been a 37 percent reduction in the number of children living in congregate care nationwide. New federal legislation, the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018, incentivizes states to reduce placement of children in congregate care by placing limitations on federal funding reimbursement, and articulating expectations for quality. Continued investments are needed to ensure the safe and appropriate reduction of congregate care and the development of a robust continuum of care that can serve children in family-based settings.