Assessing deinstitutionalization as a social policy requires examining a system of programs rather than single, "model" services. The authors report an evaluation of 19 residential treatment programs in Hennepin County, Minnesota, that provide three different levels of care (intensive, transitional, and supportive) for mentally ill clients. Data on client characteristics program outcomes, and hospitalization costs were collected in two study periods between 1980 and 1985. The results showed that the programs served three distinct client subpopulations that differed in recidivism, vocational status, discharge setting, and costs according to the type of program. Clients in all programs made substantial gains in community integration, and as a group the programs were cost-effective.