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Hoteling Children in Foster Care

“Hoteling” (also called “Temporary Lodging” and sometimes spelled “Hotelling”) is a Child welfare practice in which Children in custody spend nights in hotels, cars, or state office buildings due to a shortage of foster homes, group homes, or treatment facilities. The hoteling of Children is increasing in numerous states as they grapple with too few placement options for Children in foster care.

States are losing federal lawsuits, legislatures are passing bills, and advocacy groups are drawing attention to a growing practice.

The unconscionable irony is that when parents cannot provide housing for their Children requiring children to spend nights in cars or offices, their Children can be removed for reasons of neglect and find themselves in hotels.

The news articles below provide examples of hoteling as it is practiced by public Child welfare agencies across the country.


IL: DCFS must end practice of housing wards of the state in juvenile jail: A WBEZ report found that the practice, once on the decline, is now ticking up again.
– Chicago Sun-Times – CST Editorial Board – June 11, 2022

WA: Washington Settles Lawsuit Involving Foster Youth Left Sleeping in Offices and Hotels – The Imprint – Michael Fitzgerald – June 9, 2022

IL: When Illinois DCFS can’t find housing for incarcerated teens, they stay in jail: The average wait time is more than 53 days. – WBEZ.org – Char Daston – June 8, 2022

GA: Foster Care Crisis: Hundreds of foster kids in South Georgia placed in hotels – WALB.com – Heidi Paxson – June 8, 2022

WA: DCYF settles class action lawsuit from foster youth in hotel stays – Foster Parent Alliance of Washington State – Jac Fitgerald – June 7, 2022

ND: Lack of emergency foster care means some North Dakota kids must stay in hotels, offices – The Dickinson Press, by April Baumgarten – June 04, 2022

GA: ‘Desperate Situation’: States Are Housing High-Needs Foster Kids in Offices and Hotels – Cobb County Courier – Sam Whitehead – June 1, 2022

US: High-needs foster kids sometimes have to sleep in hotels or offices. The pandemic made the problem worse</a> – PBS News Hour – May 31, 2022

VA: Foster kids sleeping in offices, hotel rooms because there’s no other option | Why, and what can be done? – WSLS.com – Jenna Zibton, Anchor – May 12, 2022

VA: With nowhere else to go, some Virginia foster children have been sleeping in government offices – Virginia Mercury – Kate Masters – April 1, 2022

TX: Report: Texas foster children spend average of 18 nights sleeping in CPS offices, hotels – KXAN.com – Avery Travis – November 19, 2021

WA: Why Washington is struggling to stop housing foster kids in hotels – King5.com – Taylor Mirfendereski – October 17, 2021

TX: Why Kids in Foster Care End up Sleeping in Offices – Dallas Morning News – Naomi Schaefer Riley – October 5, 2021

TX: Judge sanctions Texas agency over children sleeping in CPS offices – KXAN.com – Avery Travis – September 10, 2021

WA: WA foster system to stop housing kids in hotels, offices. But then what? – Crosscut – Elizabeth Amon – July 9, 2021

WA: Judge Orders Washington State to End Car and Hotel Stays for Foster Youth – Disability Rights Washington – Patty Guinto – June 29, 2021

WA: No bed, no blanket: Social workers blow whistle on Washington forcing foster youth to sleep in cars, offices as punishment – King5.com – Taylor Mirfendereski, Chris Ingalls – May 20, 2021

TX: ‘A catastrophe’: More than 200 kids sleeping in CPS offices as need for foster care intensifies – KXAN.com – Avery Travis – May 4, 2021

OR: Update: DHS Makes Progress on Ending Placement of Foster Youth in Hotels – Youth, Rights & Justice – February 25, 2021

OR: Gov. Brown Ignored Problems with Foster Children Housing – Oregon Accountability Project – June, 2018

OR: Foster Care in Oregon: Chronic management failures and high caseloads jeopardize the safety of some of the state’s most vulnerable children – Oregon Secretary of State, Audits Division – May, 2018

WA: The $600-a-night foster care bed – Investigate West – Allegra Abramo – October 11, 2017

US: Nowhere Else to Go: Why Kids Are Sleeping in Child Welfare Offices – Governing.com – J.B. Wogan – October 09, 2017

TX: For troubled foster kids in Houston, sleeping in offices is “rock bottom” – The Texas Tribune and Reveal – Neena Satija – April 20, 2017

ME: “Hoteling” the New Term in the Crisis in Foster Care – Thrive Penobscot

GA: Lack of foster families leads to temporary hotel housing for few children – The Times – Nick Watson – April 23, 2015

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