Insights

Tags Dropdown
  • FOR ALL
  • FOR CLINICIANS
  • FOR EDUCATORS
  • FOR PARENTS

Moving Away from Point and Level Systems in Residential Care

Young people are most often referred for a residential intervention due to concerns about their behavior and safety in home and community settings. Thus, a prime focus of residential programs has always been on "behavior management" in the day-to-day life in the milieu. While differing approaches have been developed, a common strategy has been the use of point and level systems (P&L). These have been seen as providing motivation for the youth to meet the program's behavioral expectations through specified rewards and consequences. Targeted operant approaches with individualized reinforcement systems within a relational framework can be useful for much of the children and youth population.

However, a growing body of research in neuroscience, along with both clinical and lived experience, is demonstrating that prescriptive point and level systems applied universally to a group do not typically result in enduring behavior change. P&L systems run counter to principles of Trauma Informed Care as they involve using power and control to manipulate children’s behavior. Additionally, youth raise objections to what they consider arbitrary decisions regarding their status and privileges, and families object to behavior management approaches that don't transfer readily into their homes.

This webinar was hosted by Think:Kids and the Association of Children's Residential Centers. The recording addresses issues and concerns related to universal prescriptive P&L systems, how to move away from P&L systems to effective alternatives that can both be used in programs and can be successfully transferred to families, teachers, and caregivers. Leaders in our field who have effectively reconsidered and eliminated P&L systems in their programs share their experience including Stuart Ablon and Alisha Pollastri from Think:Kids, Jerry Hartman from The Village Network, Christopher Peete from Youth Villages, and Paul Rieger from Bonnie Brae.

Skip to content