Skip to content
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

Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.

Map of the U.S. made of Arnold Ventures icons