More than 25 years ago, the Washington legislature created the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to carry out non-partisan research projects. In 2009, the Institute looked at the ROI from evidence-based prevention and intervention programs in the state. Its goal was to identify evidence-based ways to deliver better outcomes per taxpayer dollar.
Their report is a compendium of programs, practices and policies in Washington that impact residents on many levels, from justice and substance abuse to mental health, education and child abuse.
Child abuse alone costs the U.S. $124 billion each year according to the CDC. And since so many factors influence parent and caregiver behavior … how they were raised, their parenting skills, the level of stress in their lives…so the most effective solutions are multi-faceted.
Home visiting programs can provide that cross-functional solution, especially those like Parents as Teachers that take a strengthening families approach. The WSIPP report lists Parents as Teachers and several other evidence-based home visiting models, citing a net benefit of $3,100 to $21,000 per family served. This equates to a return per dollar invested between $1.75 and $3.25. (The report notes that some programs also achieve benefits that cannot be monetized.)