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National Institute of Justice Awards Funds $770,000 to SSW Institute for Gang Violence Study


The National Institute of Justice has awarded the School of Social Work's Institute for Innovation and Implementation $770,657 through 2021 to help conduct a long-term follow-up of a randomized controlled trial of Functional Family Therapy, an evidence based delinquency intervention program, that was specifically accommodated to serve gang at–risk and gang–involved youth. Research Assistant Professor Brook Kearley is the Principal Investigator for the project.

An initial outcome study found that youth assigned to the FFT condition were significantly less likely than youth assigned to an alternative family therapy to be arrested and adjudicated 18-months following randomization and results were most pronounced among youth at highest risk for gang involvement. FFT involvement also resulted in cost savings per youth served, primarily due to reductions in out of home placement stays. The current project will follow this group of youth as they transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Interviews will be conducted to gather data on a host of biopsychosocial indicators. These data will be supplemented with administrative juvenile and criminal justice records, and focus groups with family court personnel. The project has the potential to contribute to the evidence base regarding effective services for this high-risk group of youth, as well as shed light on the long term impacts of FFT involvement.

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