Group Homes for Troubled Teenage Girls 

Group homes for troubled teens are 24-hour residential treatment homes that provide round-the-clock therapeutic and behavioral treatment to teens whose out-of-control behaviors have negatively affected their well-being. No parent wants to send their daughter to a residential treatment center - typically, a program based in a strange, far away place, sometimes hundreds of miles from their home. Unfortunately, parents of troubled teenage girls are often left with little choice. Where other therapeutic avenues have failed to abate their teenage daughter's out-of-control, reckless, and potentially life-altering behaviors, intensive options such as group homes for troubled youth are the next logical step in treating their child.   


Group home therapy programs differ from other forms of residential treatment. Whereas most treatment programs house students in a large building or compound, group homes take place in a house that simulates a home-like setting. A group home environment is designed to simulate living in a home while providing mental and behavioral health treatment under the supervision of a clinically certified mental health professional staff.

Consequently, group homes are often used as a subsequent treatment program (typically a secondary program after a traditional residential treatment center) to help better prepare teens to re-enter their old lives.

Group homes are sometimes used as a subsequential transitional program after the teen is released from a higher, more strict level of clinical care such as a psychiatric hospital or juvenile detention center. In these, typically, court-sanctioned treatment homes, teens stay for extended periods (one to multiple years) before returning home. Still, the goals are basically the same as regular troubled teen homes: prepare youth for their eventual transition back into the 'real world' to be with their families. 

A day in the life of a teenage resident in a group home is structured to participate in therapy, academics, and other activities that clinical staff deems necessary for their behavioral rehabilitation. In addition to providing teenage residents with a structure, these rules and regulations are put in place to provide them with a safe environment where they can intensely focus on creating positive psychiatric and behavioral change.

Like most troubled ten residential therapy programs, group homes instill a level system based on being rewarded for good behavior and given consequences for negative behavior.

Group homes that utilize level-system treatment models reward good behaviors, such as giving teens additional privileges for engaging in good behaviors. Teens in a level-system group home who lead by example and exhibit positive behaviors will be given things such as increased access to the outside world (electronics, such as TVs, video game consoles, and telephone privileges. Those who fail to meet the behavioral standards and rules of the house are often given consequences (demotion in level, having possessions and privileges confiscated and revoked).

To simulate regular, home-living, group homes will often involve teens under their care to participate in day-to-day chores and activities common among American family living. Activities typically include grocery shopping, meal preparation, house cleaning, and other common family-based chores.

Within the circumstances of living and learning collectively, the group home setting presents opportunities for adolescents to learn new abilities with the support of the staff. To simulate regular, home-living, group homes will often involve teens under their care to participate in day-to-day chores and activities common among American family living. Activities typically include grocery shopping, meal preparation, house cleaning, and other common family-based duties.

Group home personnel are often made up of young men and women who have a history or passion for serving troubled youth. That said, for a group home to be legitimate, they must also employ licensed therapeutic specialists at all times.

In addition to watching out for their safety and assisting them in their mental health-related journey, group home staff often provide teens with essential life skills   - i.e., such as laundry, balancing a budget, and other aspects to independent living.

What Group Homes Provide

The therapy provided in a group home concentrates primarily on developing self-esteem, exercising new skills, and holding teens responsible for their actions.

Some group homes offer specialized treatment for particular issues, like spectrum disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, or improper sexual behavior. 

While no program is the same, the majority of group homes for troubled teenage girls include the following treatments in their therapeutic curriculum:

  • Anger management
  • Drug education
  • Family treatment
  • Group treatment
  • Individual treatment
  • Individualized behavior programs

If the main objective is for a teen to return home, family engagement is significant. Support in therapy and multi-family groups is imperative to helping the family be prepared for a teen's return home.

Advantages Of Group Homes for Troubled Teens

Group homes provide a relatively small living space - ideally the size and appearance of a home - where each teen becomes well known to the staff. Each teen's individual needs can be approached.

The home-like environment is relaxed and familiar, and, in this environment, teens acquire abilities to get along with family members. With influential family support, a group home may be a suitable choice for teenage girls who have mental health or behavioral-related issues.

They're often good solutions for teens who need more support. While they're getting help, parents can learn new strategies for helping a teen cope with the eventual return home.

Potential Disadvantages of Group Home Therapy

It can be challenging to get a health insurance provider that covers group home therapy. Since they accept only a small number of teens, the payments can be pretty high. It can be challenging to obtain an available bed in a group home as well. A significant portion of group homes have long waiting lists, and it can be challenging to locate a group home found within the teen's same school system.

Children in foster care may be placed in a group home setting for long periods of time. They can be very restrictive compared to living in a foster home, and the rotation of staff can interfere with a child's ability to develop healthy attachments when a group home becomes a long-term placement.

What Group Homes for Teenage Girls are Like

A group home for teenage girls can apply to several diverse types of adolescent help programs. Some short-term programs encourage teens by getting them out of their current circumstances and into a program that adapts them to change. Some longer-term programs, like residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools, last longer and incorporate a treatment plan and an academic system. All of these are essentially group homes, in that the teenage girls no longer live with their parents at home but rather live with other teens and some mental health professionals. However, therapeutic boarding schools are the only programs that offer long-term healing and keep teens on track in school.