Juvenile Justice Bulletin Banner 2003
   Shay Bilchik, Administrator
December 1998  
Family Strengthening Series Treatment Foster Care

Patricia Chamberlain, Ph.D


The Treatment Foster Care Program

Planning and Implementation

Program Evaluation and Effectiveness

Program Replication


For Further Information


NCJ 173421

Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.


From the Administrator

As the capacities of juvenile corrections facilities across America are sorely tested by the increase in juvenile crime over the past decade, the demand for effective alternatives to secure detention also grows. Many alternatives involve placing youth in group care facilities with other offenders. Often this is seen as the last stop before a State training school, but is it a stop or a way station?

Research has shown that association with delinquent peers is a strong predictor of future involvement in delinquent and violent behavior. Two studies funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention bear this out. The Seattle Social Development Project found that youth with delinquent peers reported more than three times the violent acts as those without delinquent peers. The Rochester Youth Development Study found that offense rates for general delinquency, violent delinquency, drug selling, and drug use were higher for youth with delinquent peers than for those without.

Treatment Foster Care describes an alternative to corrections—and group care—facilities. The program places juvenile offenders who require residential treatment with foster families who are trained to provide close supervision, fair limits, consistent consequences, and a supportive relationship, instead of with other delinquents. In short, it is an approach that promotes both rehabilitation of juvenile offenders and public safety.

Shay Bilchik



This Bulletin was written by Patricia Chamberlain of the Oregon Social Learning Center. The work was supported by grant number R01MH47458 from the National Institute of Mental Health, Violence and Traumatic Stress Research Branch: James Breiling, Project Officer; titled Mediators of Male Delinquency—A Clinical Trial.

Photographs of man with adolescent and woman with daughter copyright© 1998 FPG; photograph of woman with daughter on plaid couch copyright© 1998 PhotoDisc, Inc.; photograph of young girl copyright© John Greim/West Stock; photograph of adolescent girl copyright© 1998 Corbis Corporation.

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