November 2016Vol. 17, No. 8Quantifying Cost Benefits of Prevention Services
A new guide is available to help practitioners use cost analysis tools to quantify the economic benefits of child abuse prevention programs. The guide's authors note that cost analysis can go a long way toward demonstrating the long-term societal value of investing in programs to prevent child maltreatment.
The Practitioner's Guide to Cost Analysis: First Steps and Cost Analysis Case Study from Children's Trust Fund of Missouri is the result of interviews conducted by the University of Kansas' Center for Public Partnerships and Research on behalf of the FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) to better understand the use of cost analysis in CBCAP programs. The University of Kansas interviewed CBCAP leads in 10 States, which were chosen based on a State's readiness for cost analysis. This was determined by a State's prior experiences with cost analysis work, its ongoing use of robust evaluation procedures, and its involvement in public-private partnerships and sustainability planning.
The June 2016 guide discusses how to achieve stakeholder buy-in, how to access and streamline data collection and processing, and how to communicate and use results. The guide points out that effective cost analysis will answer the following questions:
- What are the true costs and benefits of prevention programs?
- How do costs compare to other interventions with similar goals?
- What long-term costs are avoided by doing front-ended prevention work?
In closing, the guide references a case study by the Children's Trust Fund of Missouri, which showed that prevention services offered through Missouri's CBCAP program saved millions of dollars by cutting down on the need for hospitalizations, child welfare services, and law enforcement. Access the guide at http://friendsnrc.org/jdownloads/Cost%20Analysis/cost%20analysis%20guide%20final.pdf (376 KB).