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In Washington State, Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is one of the many evidence-based programs made available to court-involved youth on probation. In 2022, WSIPP was contracted to evaluate the effect of the program on recidivism.
Using administrative data, this study examined the likelihood of recidivism for youth participating in FFT relative to eligible youth who did not participate in FFT. In addition, we evaluated for whom, and under what conditions, the program was most effective.
Our findings indicate that participation in FFT is associated with an increased likelihood of recidivism, when compared to the average “treatment-as-usual” that youth in the juvenile courts typically receive. On average, youth who started FFT were 10.1 percentage points more likely to recidivate than youth in the comparison group. Of those who recidivated, there were no significant differences found in the rates of felony or violent felony recidivism. The association between participation in FFT and recidivism did not vary based on youth characteristics, geography, living situation, or competency of therapist.