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CASASTART (California's Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows)

Public Health & Prevention: Community-based
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2019.  Literature review updated February 2020.
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Formerly known as Children at Risk, California’s Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows (CASASTART) is a community-based strategy that targets youth aged 11 to 13 years old living in high-risk neighborhoods (e.g., neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status). The biggest aim of CASASTART is to intervene with children before they use drugs, alcohol, or become involved with the juvenile justice system. CASASTART provides eight program components to youth including intensive case management; family services such as counseling and parent training; community-enhanced policing; after-school activities; tutoring; mentoring; vouchers; and special events. If a youth encounters the juvenile justice system, CASASTART continues to support the youth and provides community service opportunities and enhanced supervision. Youth receive services through CASASTART for approximately 24 months, and are monitored by a case manager that coordinates the youth, their families, their teachers, police officers, social service agencies, and neighborhood residents to provide necessary services for the youth.
For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. 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 $798 Benefits minus costs ($18,071)
Participants $951 Benefit to cost ratio ($0.37)
Others ($33) Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($6,583) benefits greater than the costs 7%
Total benefits ($4,867)
Net program cost ($13,205)
Benefits minus cost ($18,071)

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

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. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

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
12 2 408 0.008 0.178 14 0.008 0.178 22 0.008 0.962
12 1 264 -0.345 0.212 13 -0.345 0.212 13 -0.345 0.104
12 1 144 -0.141 0.165 13 -0.141 0.165 13 -0.141 0.391
12 1 264 -0.272 0.352 13 n/a n/a n/a -0.272 0.440
12 1 144 0.384 0.178 14 n/a n/a n/a 0.384 0.031
12 3 672 -0.053 0.154 14 -0.053 0.154 18 -0.053 0.732
12 1 264 -0.030 0.250 13 n/a n/a n/a -0.030 0.906
12 1 176 0.428 0.155 14 n/a n/a n/a 0.428 0.006
12 1 144 0.379 0.150 13 n/a n/a n/a 0.379 0.012
12 1 264 -0.113 0.302 13 n/a n/a n/a -0.113 0.709
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
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime Criminal justice system ($65) $0 ($159) ($32) ($256)
Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation ($40) ($93) ($51) $20 ($164)
Costs of higher education $6 $10 $3 $3 $22
K-12 grade repetition K-12 grade repetition $301 $0 $0 $151 $452
Alcohol use before end of middle school Labor market earnings associated with alcohol abuse or dependence $428 $1,006 $0 ($214) $1,220
Property loss associated with alcohol abuse or dependence $0 $2 $3 $0 $4
Mortality associated with alcohol $1 $1 $0 $10 $11
Illicit drug use before end of high school Health care associated with illicit drug abuse or dependence $166 $26 $171 $83 $446
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($6,602) ($6,602)
Totals $798 $951 ($33) ($6,583) ($4,867)
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $4,667 1999 Present value of net program costs (in 2018 dollars) ($13,205)
Comparison costs $0 1999 Cost range (+ or -) 30%
We use the reported per-participant annual cost for CASASTART from Harrell et al., 1999. In the studies included in our meta-analyses, youth participate in CASASTART for two years.
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.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative 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 discounted dollars. 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.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Harrell, A., Cavanagh, S., & Sridharan, S. (1999). Evaluation of the Children At Risk Program: Results 1 year after the end of the program (Research in Brief). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED438341)

Harrell, A.V., Cavanaugh, S.E., & Sridharan, S. (1998). Impact of the Children at Risk program: Comprehensive final report II. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Mihalic, S., Huizinga, D., Ladika, A., Knight, K., & Dyer, C. (2011). Bibliography: CASASTART final report (Award Number 58328). Princeton, NJ: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.