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The teaching-family model is a model of care for troubled youth used internationally in group homes, treatment foster care, schools, home-based treatment, and other youth and dependent adult care programs. It was developed in the 1960s through research at the University of Kansas. Researchers included Montrose Wolf, PhD (the inventor of time-out as a learning tool to shape behavior) and Gary Timbers, PhD. The model has been replicated over 800 times, although not all of the replications have proven effective and successful.[1]

This model of care is based on an "organized approach to providing humane, effective, and individualized services that are satisfactory to clients and consumers.[2] It is cost effective and replicable." (from Teaching-Family Association Website) The focus is using scientifically proven methods of behaviorism known as applied behavior analysis and sometimes known as behavior modification to teach and reinforce pro-social skills and allow the individual to maintain or advance in his or her environment.

The Teaching-Family Association (TFA) is an international organization founded in 1975 to promote this model of care. More information can be found on their website.


Many years of research exist on the Teaching-Family Model.[3] In general research supports the use of Teaching-Family Homes to reducing recidivism while in program and some suggestion that it reduces post-programming.[4] The Teaching-Family Model has been suggested as a model program for residential treatment facility and behavior modification facility.[5]

See also


  1. Fixsen, D.L.; Blasé, K.; Timbers, G.D. & Wolf, M.M. (2007). In Search of Program Implementation: 792 Replications of the Teaching-Family Model. The Behavior Analyst Today, 8(1), 96–114 BAO
  2. Bernfeld, G.A.; Blase, K.A. & Fixsen, D.L. (2006). Towards a Unified Perspective on Human Service Delivery Systems: Application of the Teaching-Family Model. The Behavior Analyst Today, 7(2), 168–74 BAO
  3. See review by Kingsley, D.; Ringle, J.L.; Thompson, R.W.; Chmelka, B. & Ingram, S. (2008). Cox Proportional Hazards Regression Analysis as a Modeling Technique for Informing Program Improvement: Predicting Recidivism in a Boys Town Five-Year Follow-up Study. Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim: Treatment and Prevention, 1(1), 82–97 BAO
  4. Kingsley, D. (2006). The Teaching-Family Model and Post-Treatment Recidivism: A Critical Review of the Conventional Wisdom. International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy, 2, 481–96. BAO
  5. Underwood, L.E.; Tallbott, L.B.; Mosholder, E. & von Dresen, K. (2008). Methodological concerns of residential treatment facilities and recidivism for juvenile offenders with disruptive behavior disorders. The Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim: Treatment and Prevention, 1(2), 214–28. BAO


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