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Summaries of RCT Grants

Randomized controlled trial of Functional Family Therapy-Gangs (FFT-G), a therapeutic intervention for justice-involved youth

This study is an RCT of Functional Family Therapy – Gangs (FFT-G), a therapeutic intervention for justice-involved youth and their families with promising prior evidence that it can reduce recidivism.

Grant Recipient: Regents of the University of Colorado

Principal Investigators: David C. Pyrooz, Ph.D., University of Colorado

Pamela R. Buckley, Ph.D., University of Colorado

Term: 2021 – 2025

Funding: $1,189,240

Summary: This study is an RCT of Functional Family Therapy – Gangs (FFT-G), a therapeutic intervention for justice-involved youth and their families with promising prior evidence that it can reduce recidivism. A previous, well-conducted RCT of FFT-G with a sample of 129 juveniles on probation at risk of gang involvement in Philadelphia found that FFT-G led to statistically significant reductions in the percent of youth with drug charges (11% in the FFT-G group vs. 22% in the control group) and the percent of youth adjudicated for any offense (23% in the FFT-G group vs. 38% in the control group) during the 18 month period following random assignment. Additionally, the study found FFT-G produced sizable effects on several important outcomes that did not quite reach statistical significance, including effects on the percent of youth who (i) had been arrested; (ii) had felony charges; and (iii) had property charges The key limitation in this evidence is that the initial RCT, although well conducted, was carried out in a single site (Philadelphia) with a small sample and was likely underpowered as evidenced by the sizable effects that were not quite statistically significant.

Under this project, the researchers will replicate FFT-G in a new setting – two judicial districts in the Denver, CO area – with a sample of 400 juveniles on probation determined to be gang-embedded. As a condition of probation, youth and their caregiver(s) will be randomly assigned to either receive FFT-G or to a control group that will receive the standard service provisions as outlined by probation officers. The study’s primary outcomes will be violent and non-violent recidivism measured 18 months after random assignment.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan will be posted shortly.

Grants

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