Research and Articles

‘‘When You First Get There, You Wear Red’’: Youth Perceptions of Point and Level Systems in Group Home Care – Child welfare involved youth are frequently referred to group home care. One common intervention utilized in group home care is behavior management systems. This intervention is operationalized as points, token economies, and level systems. Grounded in social learning and behavioral theories, the objective is to reinforce-prosocial behaviors and to provide mild negative consequences for undesirable behaviors. However, little is known about how child-welfare involved youth perceive these kinds of interventions and whether they believe them to be effective. Focus groups were conducted with 40 young adults known to independent living services and formerly in group home placement. The qualitative findings reveal that while youth felt structure was needed, how it was operationalized in group homes was  restrictive, non-normative, and non-individualized. Implications for social work practice and further research using an attachment perspective are discussed.