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Program Profile: Functional Family Parole

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on November 20, 2017

Program Summary

This is a supervision program that incorporates family-focused, strengths-based principles of Functional Family Therapy. The goal of the program is to reduce re-arrests and increase employment rates. The program is rated Promising. Participants in the intervention were less likely to be re-arrested, more likely to be employed, and earned more per quarter, compared with the comparison group. These findings were statistically significant.

Program Description


Program Goals/Target Population The Functional Family Parole (FFP) is a supervision program that incorporates family-focused, strengths-based principles of Functional Family Therapy (FFT). FFP was designed to provide a new model of parole for youths who were eligible to be pre-released or diverted from incarceration to community supervision. The goals of the FFP program are to reduce re-arrests and achieve gainful employment with greater earnings for participants. The program targets youths who have non-serious criminal offenses and are released into the custody of their families, a relative, or community group home.

Services Provided
FFP consists of an average of eight sessions delivered over approximately 6 months. The program is implemented by probation officers (POs), who carry a maximum caseload of 20 youths at a time. POs guide youths and their families through three phases: 1) Engage and Motivate; 2) Support and Monitor; and 3) Generalize. The program uses a supervised parole model that incorporates family-based intervention techniques, including engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behavior change, and generalization.

In the engage and motivate phase, therapists concentrate on establishing and maintaining a strengths-based relationship with clients. Elements of this phase include engaging the family, reducing early risk factors, setting expectations, developing a balanced alliance, establishing trust and credibility, decreasing hopelessness, understanding family challenges, and creating a motivational context for undertaking the change process and maintaining long-term change. During this phase, the development of three skill sets are emphasized: 1) structuring skills (which provide direction and focus during family meetings); 2) interpersonal skills (which include validating, positive interpretation, reattribution, reframing, and sequencing); and 3) relationship skills (which include trust, warmth, humor, non-blaming, and respect).

During the support and monitoring phase, therapists concentrate on the relationship process between adolescents and their families. The idea that a positive experience in therapy can lead to a lasting change is emphasized and reiterated. The goals of this phase include facilitating individual and relational change, developing support and intervention plans, knowing community resources, maintaining and using community contacts, locating resources that fit risks and needs, linking families to programs that fit their needs, eliminating barriers to services, supporting providers and families through monitoring and understanding, and fine-tuning family change. The skills emphasized during this phase are relational skills and structuring and organizing skills to identify, maintain, and help families use community contacts and resources.

During the generalization phase, the goals are to maintain individual and family change once the case is closed, to build additional skills consistent with the treatment, to apply changes to new obstacles as they come up, to incorporate relevant community resources, and to help maintain changes.  Skills emphasized during this phase include structuring activities and identifying resources to maintain positive change and relapse prevention (Andrews et al. 2012).     

Program Theory

The program is grounded in the FFT model, which focuses the family away from the youth’s problems and on to patterns of behavior between family members, with the aim of establishing more positive familial interaction patterns. 

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Any Re-arrests
Lucenko and colleagues (2011) found that participants in the Functional Family Parole (FFP) treatment group were less likely to be re-arrested within the 9 months of follow up, compared with the comparison group. This finding was statistically significant.
 
Total Arrests
Participants in the FFP group had fewer arrests within the 9 months of follow up, compared with the comparison group. This finding was statistically significant.
 
Employment
Participants in the FFP were more likely to be employed within 1 year of follow up, compared with the comparison group. This finding was statistically significant.
 
Earnings
Participants in the FFP earned more on average within 1 year of follow up, compared with the comparison group. This finding was statistically significant.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Lucenko and colleagues (2011) conducted a quasi-experimental study with propensity score matching to examine the effectiveness of Functional Family Parole (FFP) on recidivism and employment measures for youths who had non-serious criminal offenses and were released by the state of Washington into the custody of their families, a relative, or community group home.
 
Participants in this study were youths who were eligible for parole; that is, were not convicted of high-risk, auto theft, or sex offenses. The two cohorts (comparison and treatment) were released prior to and after the elimination of parole in the state of Washington. The two groups were defined using multivariate propensity score matching to ensure that they were closely matched with respect to criminal and employment histories, demographics, and other risk factors and characteristics. The FFP treatment group (n=163) had release dates between July 2008 and December 2008, whereas the comparison group (n=163), who received parole services as usual, had release dates between July 2009 and December 2009. The treatment group received FFP’s family-focused-supervision parole model, and the comparison group received parole services as usual. These services included monthly face-to-face contact with a probation officer in addition to referrals to school-based services, gender-specific services, drug and mental health courts, and services for preventing gang membership.
 
The average age at release for the treatment group was 17 years. The treatment group was 47 percent white, 29 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, and 10 percent other racial/ethnic minority. The treatment group was 89 percent male, and 83 percent had prior arrests (an average of 1.85 prior felony arrests and 0.74 prior gross misdemeanor arrests). Thirteen percent of the treatment group had a prior serious mental illness diagnosis; 21 percent had a prior ADHD, conduct, and/or impulse diagnosis; and 45 percent had prior substance use treatment, diagnoses, or arrests.
 
The average age at release for the comparison group was 17 years. The comparison group was 43 percent white, 29 percent Hispanic, 20 percent black, and 9 percent other racial/ethnic minority. The comparison group was 90 percent male, and 85 percent had prior arrests (an average of 2.02 prior felony arrests and 1.05 prior gross misdemeanor arrests). Fourteen percent of the comparison group had a prior serious mental illness diagnosis; 21 percent had a prior ADHD, conduct, and/or impulse diagnosis; and 46 percent had prior substance use treatment, diagnoses, or arrests.
 
The primary sources of data came from the Research and Data Analysis (RDA) Integrated Client Database and from Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) program data. The RDA database included information on the following: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services received, client characteristics, information on employment and wages from the Employment Security unemployment insurance (UI) and wage data, and arrests from the Washington State Patrol.
 
Follow-up in this study was done at 9 months after the intervention was concluded for re-arrest outcomes and at 1 year after the intervention was concluded for employment outcomes. Logistic regression was conducted for any arrest in the 9-month follow-up period, and a matched sample regression analysis was conducted on total arrest outcomes. Additionally, a matched sample regression was conducted for employment at the 1-year follow up. No subgroup analysis was conducted.
 
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Implementation Information

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More information on Functional Family Therapy can be found on the CrimeSolutions program profile at https://www.crimesolutions.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?ID=122
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Lucenko, Barbara A., Lijian He, David Mancuso, and Barbara Felver. 2011. Effects of Functional Family Parole on Re-Arrest and Employment for Youth in Washington State. Research and Data Analysis Report 2.24. Olympia: Wash.: Department of Social and Health Services.

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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Andrews, Nel, Grace Bauer, Deena Corso, and Gina Womack. 2012. Family-Focused Practice: A Critical Examination of Functional Family Parole. Presented at the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Inter-site Conference, Houston, Texas. 


Sexton, Thomas, and Charles W. Turner. 2011. “The Effectiveness of Functional Family Therapy for Youth with Behavioral Problems in a Community Practice Setting.” Journal of Family Psychology 24(3):339–48. 


Slesnick, Natasha, and Jillian Prestopnik. 2009. “Comparison of Family Therapy Outcome with Alcohol Abusing, Runaway Adolescents.” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 35(3): 255–77.

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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Juvenile Aftercare Programs
This practice consists of reintegrative programs and services designed to prepare juvenile offenders, who were placed out of their homes, for reentry into the community. The overall goal of aftercare programs is to reduce the recidivism rate of detained juvenile offenders. The practice is rated Promising. There was a significant decrease in the recidivism rates of juveniles who participated in the aftercare programs, compared with juveniles in the control group.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 0 - 17

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White, Other

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Family Therapy, Probation/Parole Services, Vocational/Job Training

Targeted Population: Young Offenders, Families

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide