Cost Effectiveness of a School Readiness Intervention for Foster Children.
Lynch, Frances L. Dickerson, John F. Pears, Katherine C. Fisher, Philip A.
Published: October 2017
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 81 , p. 63-71
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ObjectiveMany young children in foster care suffer from emotional and behavior problems due to neglect and abuse. These problems can lead to difficulties in school, and functioning in school is linked to long-term health and development. Early intervention to reduce emotional and behavioral issues can help children successfully transition to school, which can improve long-term outcomes. However, communities need information on relative costs and benefits associated with programs to make informed choices. The objective of this study was to assess cost effectiveness, over 12 months, of the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) intervention compared to usual services available to children in a foster care control group (FCC).MethodRandomized controlled trial of 192 children in foster care entering kindergarten who were randomized to KITS (n = 102) or FCC (n = 90). KITS includes school readiness groups and parent training over 4 months. Main outcomes were days free from internalizing symptoms (IFD), days free from externalizing behavior (EFD), intervention costs, public agency costs, and incremental cost effectiveness.ResultsKITS significantly increased IFD and EFD compared to FCC. Average total cost of the intervention was $932 per family. The intervention did not significantly impact usual services. Average incremental cost effectiveness was $64 per IFD and $63 per EFD.ConclusionsThe cost of KITS is comparable to, or less than, similar programs, and the intervention is likely to provide significant emotional and behavioral benefit and improvement in school readiness for young children in foster care. (Author abstract)
foster children; child abuse; child neglect; school linked services; cost effectiveness; preschool children; early intervention programs; early childhood education