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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
August 2002
The 1997 Washington State Legislature established a process to implement "research based" programs in Washington State's juvenile courts. The legislature has subsequently funded four specific programs. The state Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration oversees the funding process and provides statewide training to ensure faithful adherence to each program's design. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy was directed to evaluate the programs. This report briefly describes preliminary results (12-month follow-up period) for one of the programs, Functional Family Therapy (FFT). When the FFT model is delivered competently, the program reduces felony recidivism and saves more money than it costs. The key to cost-effectiveness, however, is an accurate means to distinguish between competent and incompetent therapists, and the report makes recommendations on this finding.
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