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WSIPP Details Cost-Benefit Analysis of Teaching-Family Model

In July of 2015, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) released a cost-benefit analysis of Teaching-Family Model group homes in the context of juvenile justice.

Despite the relatively high costs of the Teaching-Family Model’s intensive treatment, as compared to other programs evaluated by WSIPP, the significant societal benefits of the treatment were clear.

The Teaching-Family Model’s significant effects on the participant’s likelihood to graduate from high school as well as the prevention of further crime and victimization, in the context of WSIPP’s analysis, result in a large net societal benefit of $26,009 per participant, as shown above.

Compared to another evidence-based living treatment program, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care, the Teaching-Family Model group homes were found to have a higher benefit-to-cost ratio of $2.18 compared to $2.11, and a higher probability that benefits will exceed costs – 71 percent versus 65.

Summary Statistics (WSIPP)

Benefit-to-cost ratio $2.18
Benefits minus costs $26,009
Probability of a positive net present value 71%

1999 meta-analysis (Lipsey) of programs used in juvenile justice found Teaching-Family Model group homes to be one of the most consistently effective treatment approaches for delinquents. A 2004 pre-post treatment study summarized:

Teaching-Family Model programs reduced subsequent arrest rates by 33 percent, compared to a 12 percent reduction from the typical delinquency treatment. (Larzelere, et al. 2004)

Looking at behavioral outcomes beyond recidivism, that same 2004 study found that youth undergoing Teaching-Family Model treatment improved from the “clinical or borderline range at intake” to functioning “similar to national norms at a three-month follow-up” on standardized instruments such as the Child Behavior Checklist.

Teaching-Family Model group homes have yielded positive outcomes for juvenile justice populations since its evidence-based origins almost 50 years ago. Teaching-Family Model treatment results in positive outcomes for a variety of different client demographics across a broad range of service deliveries. See our FAQ.