Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 615–630 | Cite as

Treatment for Youth in Short-Term Care Facilities: The Impact of a Comprehensive Behavior Management Intervention

  • Kristin Duppong Hurley
  • Stephanie Ingram
  • J. Douglas Czyz
  • Nicholas Juliano
  • Evelyn Wilson

We describe a comprehensive program to train emergency shelter staff in effective methods for dealing with youth who have behavioral and emotional problems; assess the degree to which staff implemented the treatment approach; measure the impact of the intervention on shelter-wide incidents such as out-of-control behavior, runaways, and violence against other youth; and examine pre-post changes in staff experiences at the shelter via anonymous surveys. Overall, the short-term shelter staff indicated adequate implementation of the intervention. The rate of youth incidents at the shelter significantly declined from pre to post assessment. Direct-care staff ratings of their satisfaction with their proficiency in behavior management and teaching youth skills increased significantly from pre to post implementation. These findings suggest that it is feasible to deliver an effective staff-training program to improve the behavior management and social skills of youth residing in short-term care facilities within the child welfare system.


short-term care youth shelters staff development youth behavior problems outcomes 


  1. Burns, B. J., Phillips, S. D., Wagner, H. R., Barth, R. P., Kolko, D. J., Campbell, Y., & Landsverk, J. (2004). Mental health need and access to mental health services by youth involved with child welfare: A national survey. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 960970.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Caring for Children in Child Welfare. (2004, March). Mental health and developmental training requirements in the Child Welfare System (Issue 3). San Diego, CA: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Child Welfare League of America. (2002). Special tabulation of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. Dalton, M. M., & Pakenham, K. I. (2002). Adjustment of homeless adolescents to a crisis shelter: Application of a stress and coping model. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 31, 7989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dowd, T., & Tierney, J. (1992). Teaching social skills to youth: A curriculum for child-care providers. Boys Town, NE: Boys Town Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hicks-Coolick, A., Burside-Eaton, P., & Peters, A. (2003). Homeless children: Needs and services. Child and Youth Care Forum, 32, 197210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hurn, J. J., Dupper, D., Edwards, K., & Waldman, C. (1991). Treatment intervention in child abuse emergency shelters: The crucial needs. Child and Youth Care Forum, 20, 133141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Koehn, C. E., Thompson, R. W., Authier, K. J., & Bosco, M. (2001). Palm Beach County child abuse and neglect system redesign: Initial process evaluation. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 10, 245254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Landsverk, J., Garland, A. F., & Leslie, L. K. (2002). Mental health services for children reported to child protective services. In: J. E. B. Meyers, L. Berliner, J. Briere, C.T. Hendrix, C. Jenny, & T. A. Reid (Eds.), The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment 2nd ed., (pp. 487–507). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Litronwnik, A. J., Taussig, H. N., Landsverk, J. A., & Garland, A. F. (1999). Youth entering an emergency shelter care facility: Prior involvement in juvenile justice and mental health systems. Journal of Social Service Research, 25, 519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McKillip, J. (1992). Research without control groups: A control construct design. In: F. B. Bryant, J. Edwards, R. S. Tindale, E. J. Posavac, L. Heath, E. Henderson, & Y. Suarez-Balcazar (Eds.), Methodological issues in applied social psychology (pp. 159–175). New York, NY: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  12. Nunno, M. A., Holden, M. J., & Leidy, B. (2003). Evaluating and monitoring the impact of a crisis intervention system on a residential child care facility. Children and Youth Services Review, 25, 295315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Peled, E., Spire, S., & Dekel, R. (2002). Where do they go from here? Destinations of youth exiting a shelter. Children and Youth Services Review, 24, 269285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Segal, U. A., & Schwartz, S. (1987). Admission-discharge patterns of children in emergency treatment shelters: Implications for child and youth care practitioners. Child and Youth Care Quarterly, 16, 263271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Teare, J. F., Authier, K., & Peterson, R. (1994). Differential patterns of post-shelter placement as a function of problem type and severity. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 3, 722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Teare, J. F., Larzelere, R. E., Smith, G. L., Becker, C. Y., Castrianno, L. M., & Peterson, R. W. (1999). Placement stability following short-term residential care. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 8, 5969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Teare, J. F., Peterson, R. W., Furst, D., Authier, K., Baker, G., & Daly, D. L. (1994). Treatment implementation in a short-term emergency shelter program. Child Welfare, 73, 271281.Google Scholar
  18. Teare, J. F., Smith, G. L., Osgood, D. W., Peterson, R. W., Authier, K., & Daly, D. L. (1995). Ecological influences in youth crisis shelters: Effects of social density and length of stay on youth problem behaviors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 4, 89101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Votta, E., & Manion, I. G. (2003). Factors in the psychological adjustment of homeless adolescent males: The role of coping style. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 778785.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin Duppong Hurley
    • 1
    • 6
  • Stephanie Ingram
    • 2
  • J. Douglas Czyz
    • 3
  • Nicholas Juliano
    • 4
  • Evelyn Wilson
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for At-Risk Children's ServicesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.National Research Institute for Child and Family StudiesFather Flanagan's Boys’ HomeBoys TownUSA
  3. 3.Child and Family ServicesNational Resource and Training Center, Father Flanagan's Boys’ HomeBoys TownUSA
  4. 4.Home Campus ProgramsFather Flanagan's Boys’ HomeBoys TownUSA
  5. 5.Western Regional Training CenterFather Flanagan's Boys’ HomeHollywoodUSA
  6. 6.247 Barkley Memorial CenterUniversity of NebraskaNEUSA

Personalised recommendations