Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Mental health intervention can lower dropout and increase high-school completion for justice-involved youth.
This study assesses whether mental health interventions can improve
academic outcomes for justice-involved youth. Only a limited number
of studies have linked justice policies to outcomes beyond crime,
particularly education, which carries large monetary and non-monetary
benefits. The current study relies on detailed administrative data
and unique policy rules under which youth are assigned to behavioral
treatment programs. The administrative data allow for a rich set of
controls for observed family- and youth-specific heterogeneity. In
addition, the treatment assignment rules create a discontinuity among
youth who are deemed eligible or not eligible for treatment, rules
which the study exploits empirically to address the non-random
selection bias in estimating plausibly causal effects of treatment
eligibility and treatment receipt.
Estimates indicate that certaintypes of intensive mental health intervention
can lower dropout and increase high-school completion for justice-involved
youth. The effects on dropout tend to be greater among youth believed to be
less academically engaged prior to treatment.
However, effctcs on grades are negative or not significant, possibly due
to the greater retention of less academically-skilled students.