An evaluation of a comprehensive and restorative residential treatment program for youth who cause sexual harm: Do family engagement and trauma-focused interventions matter?
Pruitt, Doyle Kay
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Restorative treatment approaches for youth who cause sexual harm is a relatively new phenomenon that necessitates the comprehensive examination of a multitude of outcomes, including recidivism rates, academic functioning, family relationships, and psychological functioning. This pilot efficacy outcome evaluation examined the impact of a residential treatment facility for adolescent males 10-21 years of age (n=81) that have a documented history of sexually inappropriate behaviors. Further, the study examined the impact of family involvement and trauma-focused interventions on outcomes. Findings indicate that a restorative treatment approach improved youths' psychological and academic functioning, increased resiliency, lead to successful attainment of treatment goals, and discharge to a lower level of care. While data obtained pertaining to recidivism was limited, results indicate rates consistent with the nationally established norm. With the exception of siblings, involvement in visits and family services with various family members and non-family adults, improved psychological functioning of subjects. Finally, findings from subjects who received trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy indicate a worsening of trauma symptoms at discharge compared to subjects who received treatment as usual only. Results from this study highlight the need for further research examining the impact of a restorative approach to treatment of youth who cause sexual harm, the role various family members have on youth outcomes, and the utility of trauma interventions in a residential program.