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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
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Strong African American Families

Public Health & Prevention: Home- or Family-based
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated June 2016.
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Strong African American Families (SAAF) is a seven-week community-based program developed for African American youth ages 11-12 and their caregivers. Families meet in interactive small groups with trained facilitators once a week for 2 hours. Lessons are intended to promote regulated, communicative parenting (monitoring and setting limits, clear communication around expectations about alcohol and sex, and racial socialization), as well as youth protective factors. The aim of this program is to prevent youth drug and alcohol abuse, and postpone youth sexual involvement.
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 $757 Benefits minus costs $1,095
Participants $1,257 Benefit to cost ratio $2.29
Others $224 Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($294) benefits greater than the costs 56%
Total benefits $1,944
Net program cost ($850)
Benefits minus cost $1,095

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 Primary or secondary participant 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
11 Primary 1 326 -0.083 0.121 13 -0.083 0.121 13 -0.218 0.076
11 Primary 1 326 -0.051 0.090 16 -0.051 0.090 18 -0.134 0.137
11 Primary 1 241 -0.105 0.142 13 -0.058 0.088 16 -0.276 0.052
38 Secondary 1 369 -0.016 0.083 40 -0.008 0.102 42 -0.043 0.608
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
Alcohol use before end of middle school Criminal justice system $28 $0 $65 $14 $107
Disruptive behavior disorder symptoms K-12 grade repetition $3 $0 $0 $1 $4
K-12 special education $60 $0 $0 $30 $89
Health care associated with disruptive behavior disorder $127 $36 $131 $63 $357
Alcohol use before end of high school Labor market earnings associated with alcohol abuse or dependence $417 $983 $0 $0 $1,400
Property loss associated with alcohol abuse or dependence $0 $1 $2 $0 $3
Mortality associated with alcohol $0 $1 $0 $7 $9
Subtotals $635 $1,021 $199 $116 $1,971
From secondary participant
Major depressive disorder Labor market earnings associated with major depression $97 $229 $0 $0 $326
Health care associated with major depression $25 $7 $26 $13 $70
Mortality associated with depression $0 $0 $0 $2 $2
Subtotals $122 $236 $26 $14 $399
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($425) ($425)
Totals $757 $1,257 $224 ($294) $1,944
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $713 2015 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($850)
Comparison costs $0 2015 Cost range (+ or -) 10%
Treatment cost estimate reflects the per family cost to implement the Strong African American Families 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. 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.
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

Beach, S.R., Kogan, S.M., Brody, G.H., Chen, Y.F., Lei, M.K., & Murry, V.M. (2008). Change in caregiver depression as a function of the Strong African American Families Program. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 241-52.

Brody, G.H., Kogan, S.M., Chen, Y.F., & Murry, V.M. (2008). Long-term effects of the Strong African American Families program on youths' conduct problems. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43(5), 474-481.

Brody, G.H., Chen, Y.F., Kogan, S.M., Murry, V.M., & Brown, A.C. (2010). Long-term effects of the Strong African American Families program on youths' alcohol use. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2) 281-5.