About 250 people this week are attending the 15th annual conference of the National Teaching-Family Assn., an organization that traces its roots to a Kansas University research project that started 25 years ago.
The meeting takes place at the Lawrence Holidome.
That research project became the Achievement Place, a group home for delinquent youths in Lawrence. The home has become the model for what are called teaching-family groups across the United States and Canada.
The teaching-family model brings troubled children and young adults into a home-like setting with parents and other family-style support systems. From 250 to 300 group homes have been patterned after the model that was developed in Lawrence in the late 1960s.
Kathryn A. Ramp, director of KU's Achievement Place Research Project, said the model has succeeded because of the quality of care the children receive.
"I think the thing that we can do that is really different . . . is that we have created environments that are humane, that deal effectively with kids' problems and are very focused on teaching the kids in a way that they like," she said.
Ramp added that the children at Achievement Place face high expectations to improve their social, academic and job skills. The conference runs through Saturday.