Juvenile Justice Risk Factors and Functional Family Therapy Fidelity on Felony Recidivism [2018]

Families (n = 5,884) received Functional Family Therapy (FFT) provided as part of court-ordered probation services by 11 community sites throughout Florida. Sites provided home-based FFT to families with male (72%) or female (28%) delinquent youth. Juvenile justice courts referred clients to these services in an effort to redirect them away from incarceration. Clients were Hispanic (18%), Black (41%), and White non-Hispanic (36%), while therapists (female, 79%) were of Hispanic (28%), Black (20%), and White non-Hispanic (50%) ethnic/racial origins. Analyses of clients’ pretreatment recidivism risk and therapist’s caseload of risky clients demonstrated that both individual and treatment site case-mix of client criminal risk levels were associated with higher adjudicated felony recidivism. Furthermore, clinical process indicators suggest that therapists with larger rather than smaller caseloads of high-risk clients provided treatment with greater fidelity. Results suggest that experience in working with challenging clients is critical for achieving fidelity with these cases.

Charles W. Turner, Michael S. Robbins, Kristin Winokur Early, Julia L. Blankenship, Lisa R. Weaver
Criminal Justice and Behavior, November 28, 2018