Group homes are often the subject of conversations among families and human service professionals. This is largely because residential placement and housing is one of the most critical services that are coordinated by the case manager. Group homes continue to be in high demand even in the current economy. New group homes continue to sprout up despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite their demand and popularity, group homes often receive a lot of unfair criticism. I will discuss some of the most common misconceptions of group homes I hear from a number of my colleagues and families of the residents.
1. Group homes are only in it for the money.
The number one misconception of group homes is that they are
only in it for the money. I think people fail to realize that group homes are
no different from any other business within the human services field. They need
to earn revenue to survive. I remember talking with another case manager and
listening to her complain about group homes making money “off the backs of the
disabled”. I laughed to myself because she failed to realize that our
department literally makes millions of dollars annually from the very same
population. But for some reason it is perceived as a negative when it comes to
The bottom line is that we all provide a service and deserve
compensation. There will always be some providers that are better than others.
However, I feel that most group homes are genuinely in the field to help
people, but also to stay in business.
2. Group homes don’t care about the residents.
This misconception also stems from the money issue. There is
often a feeling that the staff don’t care about the residents. The staff will
never replace a parent as a caregiver but in my experience, the staff is caring and do a good job providing direct
care to the residents. Keep in mind that some support staff assist with bathing
and toileting depending on the level of disability. This requires a great care
and compassion. In addition, group home staff are also among the lowest paid employees
but provide the most vital direct care.
3. Staff is not qualified or knowledgeable.
Group home staff go through extensive training. Staff is
trained in CPR/First Aid, medication administration, and management of
aggressive behaviors. Staff is also knowledgeable in using medical transport
devices such as hoyer lifts and wheelchairs. They also support residents with monitoring blood pressure and blood sugar as
needed. In addition, support staff often accompany residents to medical
appointments and help communicate health concerns/progress to the medical
4. Group homes do the bare minimum to get paid.
This is another misconception is that group homes do the
bare minimum requirements. I have had group home providers fly with their
residents out of state to visit relatives and take their residents on annual
vacations. I have also witnessed a number of provider that go the extra mile
to care for residents with extensive
The group home business is so competitive now that doing the
bare minimum would be quickly exposed. Residents can quickly move on to another
provider if they are not satisfied with their current placement. Now more than
ever group homes need to do more to get noticed and attract potential residents.
I have even seen group homes waive the rent payment or cut the rent payments in
half in order to keep residents or fill vacancies.
5. Group homes have a negative impact surrounding home
value and neighborhood.
I feel like this is a close second to the first
misconception I discussed earlier in this post. The neighbors may have concerns
that their property values will decrease when a group opens in their
neighborhood. However, research has shown that this is usually not the case. Group homes are now more
community-based and blend in with other homes in the neighborhood. Major
incidents that may disrupt the neighborhood are few and far between. In my 18 years as a case manager I can say
that I have had less than ten incidents where the police had to be called to
the home and even fewer neighbor complaints.