Economic Impact of Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect

Adm Policy Ment Health. 2018 Nov;45(6):876-887. doi: 10.1007/s10488-018-0870-1.


This study evaluated the economics of Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) by applying the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) cost-benefit model to data from a randomized effectiveness trial with 86 families (Swenson et al. in JFP 24:497-507, 2010b). The net benefit of MST-CAN, versus enhanced outpatient treatment, was $26,655 per family at 16 months post-baseline. Stated differently, every dollar spent on MST-CAN recovered $3.31 in savings to participants, taxpayers, and society at large. Policymakers and public service agencies should consider these findings when making investments into interventions for high-need families involved with child protective services.

Keywords: Child maltreatment; Cost-benefit analysis; Evidence-based treatment; Multisystemic Therapy (MST); Trauma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / economics
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / economics
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse / therapy*
  • Child Protective Services / economics
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / economics
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Evidence-Based Practice / economics
  • Family Therapy / economics
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Trauma / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy / economics
  • Psychotherapy / methods*