Economic evaluation of residential length of stay and long-term outcomes

Jonathan C. Huefner, Jay L. Ringle, Ronald W. Thompson, Fernando A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The high cost of residential services for troubled youth is an ongoing concern, and has formed the basis for arguments made for reducing or eliminating residential services for these youth with some recommending that lengths of residential stay be less than 6 months. This is countered by the view that the challenges faced by troubled youth are associated with high public funds expenditures in the future due to limited education, underemployment, and increased risk of criminality. Analysis used 24 month follow-up education, employment, and criminality data from 1476 former residential care youth who were now in their 20s. Individuals who were in the program for more than 6 months had better educational, employment, and criminality outcomes than youth that were in the program for less than 6 months. These improved outcomes were associated with significantly better estimated financial societal benefit over the long-term, specifically a 361% return on investment from a societal perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-208
Number of pages17
JournalResidential Treatment for Children and Youth
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • criminality
  • economic evaluation
  • education
  • employment
  • residential care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Law

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