Safe Response is sensitive to the length of stay for each child placed in residential services. The targeted length of stay for this population is 6-months or less. It is clear that some youth will require shorter lengths of stay and others will require longer lengths of stay depending on a number of child, family and system variables. Research indicates that children with shorter lengths of stay in residential treatment settings tend to have better long-term outcomes when compared to children who have lengths of stay of 12-months or greater or children who have repeated residential placements. Safe Response strongly believes that children receiving residential placement and treatment services be provided best practice interventions toward community transition and family reunification when possible. Residential placement should be time limited and primarily utilized for stabilization purposes. If a child is in placement for periods that exceed the achieving of “stabilization” as defined through the Treatment Plan, there must be clear evidence of the need for continued placement with documentation reflecting Child and Family Team input and support.
Safe Response utilizes a Monthly Review/Clinical Audit Tool to evaluate length of stay variables in a youth’s care. The Audit Tool is used monthly to monitor length of stay, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Treatment Plan, to evaluate the effectiveness of family engagement and to ensure that there is evidence of best practice interventions. The Audit Tool requires that all Child, Family/Parent and System variables contributing to continued length of stay be identified and documented. In addition, the use of the Audit Tool ensures that a youth is placed in the least restrictive treatment setting. Finally, the Tool requires action when length of stay variables of concern are identified (CFT Meeting, Modification of the Treatment Plan, Additional Evaluation/Assessment, Referral to Permanency Roundtable). The Audit Tool is completed by Safe Response’s Director of Clinical Operations or her designee at each Monthly Review for each child in care at Safe Response.