Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders -- their homes and families, schools and teachers, neighborhoods and friends. MST recognizes that each system plays a critical role in a youth's world and each system requires attention when effective change is needed to improve the quality of life for youth and their families. MST works with the toughest offenders ages 12 through 17 who have a very long history of arrests. Learn more about MST.
A project using Multisystemic Therapy (MST) launched in Essex (UK) intends to transform the lives of troubled adolescents and their families by keeping them out of trouble, in school and out of care. The costs of the program are being paid by investors who have provided £3.1 million to fund the program, through a social impact bond. Essex County Council hopes that, in the first five years, it will save more than £10 million in spending on these at-risk youths by keeping many of them out of the costly care system. Read the full article.
The Cook County probation department in Chicago, Illinois has also strengthened its mental health programming by implementing MST. The probation department used to routinely place mentally ill youth into psychiatric treatment facilities, says Michael Rohan, director of probation court services. It housed an average of 425 youth per day in those facilities in 1996, he says, "Today we have just three." Since 2002, 971 youth with serious mental health needs have been served in Cook County's MST program, many of whom would otherwise have been committed to a state correctional institution. Read the full article.
This report highlights the past two decades of Connecticut's efforts to improve responses to youth who engage in delinquent behavior and to reduce the number of youth placed into residential facilities. Specifically, the state reduced residential commitments from 680 in 2000 to 216 in 2011 (nearly 70%), even though most 16-year olds, who were previously treated as adults, are now handled in the juvenile system. The state also has closed one of its three state-operated detention centers and reduced the under 18 population in Connecticut's adult prisons from 403 in January 2007 to 151 in July 2012. Meanwhile, Connecticut expanded its investment in evidence-based, family-focused adolescent treatment programs. Read the Executive Summary, a short version of the report or the full report.
Source: Justice Policy Institute
Rutgers research on the best ways to help gang members turn their lives around recently got a boost with a $500,000 endowment to the School of Criminal Justice. Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI) donated funds to strengthen faculty and graduate student research on reducing the number of youth involved in gangs. "This is a unique partnership between a social services agency and research institution," notes Paul Boxer, a Rutgers-Newark psychology professor who has conducted extensive research on gang-involved youth and will be a major contributor of the CSI/School of Criminal Justice collaborative. "It marries delivery of direct services with evidence-based research." Read more.
For years, MST has been honored to be a part of the esteemed Blueprints for Violence Prevention initiative. In the late 1990s, Blueprints researched more than 800 programs that served at-risk youth and families. From that research, they concluded that only 11 of the programs were considered 'model' programs - programs that were backed by research and showed positive results. MST is proud to have been selected as one of those programs. Earlier this month, Blueprints launched a new online resource designed to help identify cost-effective programs that meet the highest standard of evidence. This website known as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, provides detailed information about MST and a range of other treatment programs that respond to children's needs. We encourage our stakeholders to share this website with decision-makers in your communities and networks to help educate them about MST and the importance of evidence-based programs. The website has been designed in a very user-friendly way, allowing visitors to search by desired outcome, risk factors and developmental stage. To learn more, visit blueprintsprograms.com.