In the mid-1990s, the Washington State Legislature charged the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) with the task of reviewing evidence-based policy strategies in the areas of juvenile and adult criminal justice to determine their potential in reducing crime and saving taxpayers money. The Institute identified several programs that were not then operating in the State and launched them, with results indicating that relative to national rates, juvenile crime decreased, adult criminal recidivism declined, and taxpayer criminal justice costs were lower than alternative strategies.
This initial success led to the application of this same cost-benefit analysis being applied to practices in child welfare, public education, children’s mental health, substance abuse, adult mental health, public health, and housing. In April 2012, WSIPP released an update, in which they looked at the monetary benefits and costs of evidence-based public policies. Of particular interest to NCPIC are the analyses related to substance abuse and mental health. For adults that have misused substances, benefits of motivational interviewing/motivational enhancement therapy (MI/MET) outweighed the costs, whether it was used for alcohol abuse (benefit to cost ratio of $44.38), smoking (ratio of $38.49), cannabis abuse (ratio of $11.58), or illicit drug abuse (ratio of $9.78). Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention for College Students (BASICS) was effective (ratio of $13.75) as were Life Skills Training (LST) (ratio of $37.52), Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) (ratio of $8.61), and Project STAR (ratio of $1.19) for children and adolescents.
In addition the Washington Legislature assigned the WSIPP and the University of Washington Evidence-Based Practice Institute (UW) the task of creating an inventory of evidence-based, research-based, and promising practices. The first inventory was published on September 30, 2012, with an update published on January 31, 2013. WSIPP examined the following interventions for substance abuse: Life Skills Training (LST), Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) for substance-abusing juvenile offenders, Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for substance-abusing juvenile offenders, Project ALERT, Project STAR, Project Toward No Drug Abuse (TND), Seven Challenges, and Therapeutic Communities for substance-abusing juvenile offenders. Of these programs, WSIPP considered only LST, MST, Project TND, and Therapeutic Communities to be evidence-based. They thought MDFT and Project STAR were research based, Seven Challenges was a promising practice, and Project ALERT was none of these.
For mental health interventions, only two interventions for children with disruptive behavior disorders were considered to be evidence-based: Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Evidence-based models for children who had experienced trauma included Classroom-Based Intervention for War-Exposed Children, Cognitive-Based Therapy (CBT) for Children in Schools, Enhancing Resiliency Among Students Experiencing Stress (ERASE-Stress), Kid-Net Narrative Exposure Therapy for Children, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for child trauma. The interventions that were reviewed for anxiety (i.e., Cool Kids, Coping Cat, Coping Cat/Koala book-based model, and Coping Koala), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD (i.e., CBT for children with ADHD, Behavioral Parent Therapy for children with ADHD, Barkley Model, New Forest Parenting Programme, and Multimodal Therapy for children with ADHD), and depression (i.e., CBT for depressed adolescents, Coping with Depression-Adolescents) were considered to be research-based, not evidence-based. This was also true for some interventions for children with disruptive behaviors (i.e., Incredible Years Parent Training, Incredible Years Parent + Child Training, Triple P Level 4 Group, Triple P Level 4 Individual, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, and Families and Schools Together).
For more information about these reviews and to obtain copies of reports, click here. You can also register for the WSIPP listserv and receive future updates of their research.
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