Helping the noncompliant child: An assessment of program costs and cost-effectiveness
Disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) in children can lead to delinquency in adolescence and antisocial behavior in adulthood. Several evidence-based behavioral parent training (BPT) programs have been created to treat early onset DBD. This paper focuses on one such program, helping the noncompliant child (HNC), and provides detailed cost estimates from a recently completed pilot study for the HNC program. The study also assesses the average cost-effectiveness of the HNC program by combining program cost estimates with data on improvements in child participants’ disruptive behavior. The cost and effectiveness estimates are based on implementation of HNC with low-income families. Investigators developed a Microsoft Excel-based costing instrument to collect data from therapists on their time spent delivering the HNC program. The instrument was designed using an activity-based costing approach, where each therapist reported program time by family, by date, and for each skill that the family was working to master. Combining labor and non-labor costs, it is estimated that delivering the HNC program costs an average of 501perfamilyfromapayerperspective.Italsocostsanaverageof13 to improve the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory intensity score by 1-point for children whose families participated in the HNC pilot program. The cost of delivering the HNC program appears to compare favorably with the costs of similar BPT programs. These cost estimates are the first to be collected systematically and prospectively for HNC. Program managers may use these estimates to plan for the resources needed to fully implement HNC.