Michigan’s policy to distribute the Child Care Fund (CCF) to counties at a flat rate of 50% as stated in the Michigan Comprehensive Laws 400.117a provides no structured incentive to the counties to use evidence based practices that are cost-effective for locally based delinquent youth intervention programs. This policy analysis answers the following questions: (1) would retaining delinquent youth in the community produce a cost benefit and/or better outcomes than confinement and (2) is public safety at risk if delinquent youth are retained in the community? Utilizing a policy analysis framework our evidence found that community based services provide better outcomes than confinement for delinquent youth and that retaining delinquent youth in the community does not represent an increased risk to public safety. Policy change is recommended to incentivize the use of best practices which may produce significant economic and social benefits to the state and delinquent youth who should receive the best possible care. This can be accomplished through a shift in state reimbursement rates from the current 50% rate to an increased rate for evidence based strategies.

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