Calculating and comparing the costs of multidimensional treatment foster care in English local authorities
Multidimensional treatment foster care (MTFC) is a specialist foster care programme specifically designed for children and young people who display emotional or behavioural difficulties. Developed in the US at the Oregon Social Learning Centre the programme has since been introduced in a number of countries around the world. The focus of this paper is on the implementation of the adolescent programme in England (MTFCE-A) and the development of a research methodology to estimate the child welfare unit costs of the programme. A ‘bottom up’ approach to estimating unit costs is introduced and the costs of the MTFCE-A programme are compared to other placement types. The paper compares the costs of MTFCE-A placements with placements prior to and following MTFCE-A for a small sample of children and young people. The findings show a reduction in costs during the time spent in MTFCE-A placements. Comparisons are also drawn with the costs of alternative placements identified for the children and young people had they not been placed with MTFCE-A carers.
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