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Benefits and Costs of Prevention and Early Intervention Programs for Youth

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Steve Aos, Roxanne Lieb, Jim Mayfield, Marna Miller, Annie Pennucci - July 2004

Updated September 17, 2004

Does prevention pay? Can an ounce of prevention avoid (at least) an ounce of cure? More specifically for public policy purposes, is there credible scientific evidence that for each dollar a legislature spends on “research-based” prevention or early intervention programs for youth, more than a dollar’s worth of benefits will be generated? If so, what are the policy options that offer taxpayers the best return on their dollar? These are among the ambitious questions the 2003 Washington State Legislature assigned the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. This report describes our findings and provides an overview of how we conducted the analysis.

The “summary report” link contains a summary of findings. Appendix A contains a full description of our results and methods, and Appendix B lists the references used in the study. We publish updates whenever significant new results become available.

Report ID: 04-07-3901

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Children’s services
Criminal justice: Adult corrections
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