A Message

From the President

Chris Downs, Presdident

The Downs Group, LLC recognizes that among the greatest challenges facing child welfare is the fact that older youth who come into out-of-home care have the hardest time while in care, are less likely to leave the system at all, and have fewer chances to live in safe, loving, permanent homes. We use our expertise to help your organization.

Our focus is different.

  • The Downs Group focuses on youth ages eight and older.
  • This group of older children encounters more obstacles and has a tougher time getting out of the child welfare system.
  • The most effective child welfare work is led by youth in the system and by alumni of care.
  • Once they enter these systems they frequently become victims of the “pinball effect.”

Core Beliefs of The Downs Group:

Children over the age of eight need and deserve the love and stability of a permanent family.

  • The most effective child welfare work is led by youth in the system and by alumni of care.
  • The hardest work of child welfare consists of services to youth over age eight.
  • Services designed to prevent children from coming into the system are essential.

The Downs Group, LLC seeks to make currently used terms such as “hard-to-place” and “unadoptable” things of the past.

There are many private and public companies working on front end (i.e. prevention) services for youth of all ages. Many agencies work to reconnect infants and young children to families of origin and to new families via adoptions or other permanency placement. These companies do extremely important and outstanding work for other areas working with the foster care system

Downs Group Colleagues

These youth require specialized & concentrated support.

The Downs Group, LLC provides reasonably priced approaches with proven results in all areas of Positive Youth Development.

“The Downs Group’s work in our state transformed the landscape of services to older youth.”
– State Independent Living Coordinator

The pinball effect is when a youth bounces back and forth from one placement to the next on a repeated basis. In a perfect world, all of these youth find forever homes (i.e. placed permanently). Few child welfare organizations achieve such perfection. Stories of the 20,000+ youth who age out (reach legal adulthood) or leave child welfare organizations each year underscore just how often they changed homes, schools, friends, families and so on.

The content areas of expertise are broad, deep and comprehensive. Few other organizations address these areas while maintaining the core beliefs held by The Downs Group, LLC.Dr. Chris Downs and his team bring the experience to tackle most challenges in serving older youth.

Preparing youth for successful adulthood.

Dr. Chris Downs has published 16 life skills assessments, over 45 journal articles, and presented to hundreds of professionals and lay audiences. In addition, he has collaborated with professionals in Canada, Italy, Romania, and other countries with his Life Skills work. He was co-principle investigator for the large, longitudinal Casey Northwest and Casey National Alumni Studies. He worked for over 13 years at a large child welfare foundation until he established The Downs Group, LLC.

Owner & President of The Downs Group, LLC

Dr. Downs was a tenured full Professor of Psychology and currently serves as an officer in the American Psychological Association. He has a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.