Cost-benefit Analysis of Reclaiming Futures

John Roman, Aaron Sundquist, Jeffrey A. Butts, Aaron Chalfin, and Simon Tidd (2010). Cost-benefit Analysis of Reclaiming Futures. Portland, OR: Reclaiming Futures National Program Office.

Results from the national evaluation of Reclaiming Futures support the idea that there were substantial improvements in the quality of the collaborations in Reclaiming Futures demonstration sites. Was the program also cost-beneficial? That is, given that Reclaiming Futures improved the quality of services and relationships, is there enough of a return in the investment in the form of decreased juvenile crime, to justify expenditures?

The findings of the national evaluation of Reclaiming Futures suggest that the 10 communities involved in the pilot phase of the initiative did effectively change the operations of their service-delivery systems.The extent of these changes varied, but the evaluation results show that the systems for responding to justiceinvolved youth in most of the communities improved over time.The critical question for this study is about a cost-benefit threshold. If we infer the extent of individual behavior change from the size and direction of reported system change, and if we can estimate the number youth affected by such change, are the economic benefits of those changes sufficient to justify the costs of the reform initiative? … According to this study, the answer is “yes.”