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Functional Family Probation and Parole (FFP) for court-involved/post-release youth

Juvenile Justice
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated August 2019.
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Functional Family Probation and Parole (FFP) is a case management program modeled after Functional Family Therapy (FFT). FFP was designed to supervise youth in the community on probation or parole. Like FFT, FFP is a structured, family-based intervention that uses a multi-step approach to enhance protective factors (e.g., school attendance) and reduce risk factors (e.g., antisocial attitudes) in the family. The five phases of this program include 1) engagement, 2) motivation, 3) identifying patterns of interaction within the family, 4) behavior change, and 5) generalizing positive interactions to new situations. Each phase helps to support incremental change for the youth and family. FFP typically involves 12 to 14 therapist visits over a three- to five-month period. Therapists are trained by FFT LLC.

In this analysis, FFP was delivered to youth on parole after being released from confinement and one study examined youth on probation. Youth participated in FFP for an average of six months. Comparison youth received either no treatment or treatment and probation as usual. Although risk level was not reported in these studies, youth had some degree of prior involvement with the justice system. Among included studies that reported demographics, 63% of participants were youth of color and 10% were female.

Key Terms

Court-involved youth: Youth who are processed through the juvenile justice system but who are not ordered to a period of confinement in a residential or correctional facility. This includes populations of arrested youth, diverted youth, charged youth, adjudicated youth, and youth on probation or formal supervision.

Youth in state institutions: Youth who are confined in a residential or correctional facility when they participate in the program.

Youth post-release: Youth who are returning to the community following a period of confinement in a residential or correctional facility and who participate in the program after release to the community.

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 (2022). 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 $5,156 Benefits minus costs $16,253
Participants $615 Benefit to cost ratio $4.51
Others $15,011 Chance the program will produce
Indirect $108 benefits greater than the costs 74%
Total benefits $20,889
Net program cost ($4,636)
Benefits minus cost $16,253

^^WSIPP does not include this outcome when conducting benefit-cost analysis for this program.

*The effect size for this outcome indicates percentage change, not a standardized mean difference effect size.

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
17 2 577 -0.144 0.156 18 -0.144 0.156 26 -0.144 0.355
17 1 161 0.072 0.099 20 n/a n/a n/a 0.072 0.465
17 1 139 0.482 0.180 18 n/a n/a n/a 0.482 0.008
17 1 139 0.283 0.121 18 n/a n/a n/a 0.283 0.019
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 $4,920 $0 $14,645 $2,460 $22,024
Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation $305 $718 $397 $0 $1,420
Costs of higher education ($68) ($104) ($31) ($34) ($237)
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($2,318) ($2,318)
Totals $5,156 $615 $15,011 $108 $20,889
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $5,654 2015 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($4,636)
Comparison costs $1,763 2015 Cost range (+ or -) 20%
Treatment group costs are based on Functional Family Therapy (FFT) (a similar program) and the cost of post-release supervision (parole) for 12 weeks. The cost of FFT is reported in Barnoski, R. (2009). Providing evidence-based programs with fidelity in Washington State juvenile courts: Cost analysis (Doc. No. 09-12-1201). Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Comparison group costs reflect the cost of parole supervision. Approximately 80% of the comparison sample from meta-analysis incurred parole supervision costs, while the remainder received no treatment and no parole. Thus, the cost of parole supervision for the comparison group was proportionately applied. We calculated the cost of parole for the comparison group using WSIPP cost estimates and assumed 12 weeks of supervision; the same length of supervision assumed for the FFP cost. WSIPP estimates are from Washington State Institute for Public Policy. (December 2018). Benefit-cost technical documentation. Olympia, WA: Author.
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

Darnell, A.J., & Schuler, M.S. (2015). Quasi-experimental study of Functional Family Therapy effectiveness for juvenile justice aftercare in a racially and ethnically diverse community sample. Children and Youth Services Review, 50(3), 75-82.

Lucenko, L. He, Mancuso, D., & Felver, B. (2011). Effects of Functional Family Parole on re-arrest and employment for youth in Washington State. Research Data Analysis Division: Olympia, Washington.

Sexton, T., Rowland, M., & McEnery, A., (2009). Interim outcome evaluation of the Washington State Functional Family Parole Project. Center for Adolescent and Family Studies. Bloomington, Indiana.