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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
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Strong African American Families—Teen

Public Health & Prevention: Home- or Family-based
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2019.  Literature review updated June 2016.
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Strong African American Families - Teen is a five-week community-based program developed for 16 year-old African American youth and their caregivers. Families meet in interactive small groups with trained facilitators once a week for 2 hours. Lessons are intended to promote protective caregiving (setting limits, monitoring, racial pride and strategies for dealing with discrimination, monitoring and supporting academic achievement, and cooperative problem solving), as well as youth self-regulation. The aim of this program is to deter youth substance use, conduct problems, and depressive symptoms.
The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2018). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $574 Benefits minus costs $1,131
Participants $1,182 Benefit to cost ratio $3.04
Others $138 Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($209) benefits greater than the costs 57 %
Total benefits $1,685
Net program cost ($554)
Benefits minus cost $1,131
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Benefits from changes to:1 Benefits to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime $36 $0 $89 $18 $144
K-12 grade repetition $1 $0 $0 $1 $2
Labor market earnings associated with problem alcohol use $497 $1,167 $0 $0 $1,664
Property loss associated with problem alcohol use $0 $4 $7 $0 $10
Health care associated with problem alcohol use $38 $7 $42 $19 $106
Mortality associated with problem alcohol $2 $4 $0 $30 $35
Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($277) ($277)
Totals $574 $1,182 $138 ($209) $1,685
Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $528 2015 Present value of net program costs (in 2018 dollars) ($554)
Comparison costs $0 2015 Cost range (+ or -) 10 %
Treatment cost estimate reflects the per family cost to implement the Strong African American Families - Teen program. Cost data come from the developer at the Center for Family Research, Universty of Georgia, in 2015. The estimate includes start-up costs for materials and initial facilitator training, as well as per family implementation costs for a five-week program. We spread start-up costs across participating families, assuming three groups of facilitators each implementing two times per year, with the recommended 12 families per group.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Estimated Cumulative Net Benefits Over Time (Non-Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in non-discounted dollars to simplify the “break-even” point from a budgeting perspective. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
Alcohol use before end of high school 16 1 237 -0.090 0.111 18 -0.090 0.111 18 -0.236 0.033
Disruptive behavior disorder symptoms 16 1 237 -0.029 0.147 18 -0.016 0.089 21 -0.076 0.629
Major depressive disorder 16 1 237 -0.090 0.111 18 0.000 0.310 20 -0.236 0.033
Problem alcohol use 16 1 237 -0.068 0.111 18 -0.068 0.111 28 -0.179 0.106

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Brody, G.H., Chen, Y.F., Kogan, S.M., Yu, T., Molgaard, V.K., DiClemente, R.J., Wingood, G.M. (2012). Family-centered program deters substance use, conduct problems, and depressive symptoms in black adolescents. Pediatrics, 129(1), 108-15.

Ingels, J.B., Corso,P.S., Kogan, S.M., Brody, G.H. (2013). Cost-effectiveness of the Strong African American Families-teen program: 1-year follow-up. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133(2), 556-561.