Children with and without disabilities in residential care: Risk at program entry, departure and six-month follow-up

M. B. Chmelka, A. L. Trout, W. A. Mason, T. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Although youth with disabilities represent nearly a third of the population served in residential care, little is known about the functioning of these children as compared to their peers without disabilities at program entry, departure and six-month follow-up. This study sought to extend previous research by evaluating the behavioral, mental health and educational characteristics of youth with (n = 159) and without disabilities (n = 344) served in a large residential treatment family group home program at three time points to determine group similarities and differences. Results revealed both groups presented significant risks and profiles that were more alike than different. However, across specific indicators of behavioral, mental health and educational functioning, group differences were found. Specifically, youth with disabilities presented more formal placements and social problems at program entry, had more placement changes in care, and presented poorer peer and adult relationships and higher risk behaviors (e.g., arrests and probations) six-months post-departure. Implications, limitations and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-399
Number of pages17
JournalEmotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • disabilities
  • follow-up
  • outcomes
  • residential care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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