"In The Loop" is a quarterly newsletter for MST professionals. The current issue is shown below.
Winter 2014 Issue
Fifteen years ago, in January 2000, many who still support Hawaii's flagship evidence-based program sat in a convention room at the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki and were introduced to Multisystemic Therapy. The goal was to help stem the flow of youth being sent to the mainland for delinquent and disruptive behavior due to inadequacies in Hawaii's service system.
Network Partner Director Haaheo Mansfield, of Parents And Children Together (PACT) has been a leader in MST since 2000 and was at the convention that day. "The presenter said MST worked exceptionally well with black and white populations, but I was skeptical," she says. "He failed to note that the majority of the audience were brown-skinned. I felt completely offended and resented that our tax dollars were about to be spent on an intervention with data that could not come close to addressing our challenges or take into account our blended cultures, histories and voices.
"I changed my mind about three years into the project," Mansfield continues. "I saw first-hand the positive impacts MST was making on our participant families and how our staff were learning and growing in their skills. What I know now is the MST model is designed to work hand-in-glove with cultures."
The Felix Consent Decree created some tectonic plate-shifting in the system of care and the Hawaii teams weathered intense scrutiny and many start-up bumps. Yet MST accomplished its initial goal and then some. According to data collected on the MSTI Enhanced Website over the past 15 years:
"One of the reasons MST has been so successful in Hawaii," says Lesley A. Slavin, chief psychologist at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division of Hawaii's State Department of Health (DOH CAMHD), "is its ability to hold therapists to a specific model and deliver services within a tight time-frame. With MST, what you see is what you get. Our treatment teams who authorize, coordinate and monitor all of our contracted services, know what treatment MST will provide and what goals to meet." Another outstanding feature, she notes, is MST's ability to engage parents. "Some coordinators and providers will give up and just work with the youth if parents are hard to engage, but MST has a lot of success engaging parents despite many barriers."
Another standout is the frequency of meetings because they allow for review of MST performance data and trouble-shooting. "With MST, I really appreciate that there is one person, MST Expert Gina Mollica, who answers any MST-related question or concern regarding cases or services in any part of the state," notes Slavin.
"Watching the MST systems supervisors (we've had just two since the inception of our Network Partnership in 2007) train, support and coach our staff gave me a profound respect for the model and for MST," notes Mansfield. "Many of our original staff are still with us, which speaks to the quality and effectiveness of the model."
"Hawaii's current juvenile justice reform efforts are providing another opportunity for MST to be a resource in a time of change," says Bernie Centeio, vice president and manager of Network Partnerships for MST Services.
Slavin explains: "Many of the delinquent youth and families who would benefit most from MST haven't received it because they haven't been referred to CAMHD, which funds and develops the program. Through collaborative efforts, we've recently been able to ‘braid in' some funding to provide MST to youth on probation or being discharged from juvenile corrections."
Slavin sees this program expanding, creating more demand for MST from the juvenile justice side. "I also see us working to improve our approach to integrated substance abuse and mental health treatment across our system with MST, with Contingency Management playing a key role."
"I couldn't be prouder to be a part of Hawaii's MST ‘ohana!" says Centeio. "We're poised to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of as many families as we can! I'm looking forward to CAMHD's continued collaboration with the Office of Youth Services and to the MST program's role in providing treatment and system support.
"Mahalo nui loa (much gratitude and thanks) to the team in Hawaii for doing what it takes to ensure Hawaii's MST program is implemented with fidelity," says Centeio. "Many, many families are the beneficiaries of your dedication. Happy anniversary!"
With plans to retire on the near horizon, David Bernstein, director of the Center for Effective Interventions (CEI) at the University of Denver, has distilled his work to focus only on MST activities over the next year or two. During that time, he'll concentrate on a succession plan that includes the CEI becoming part of a larger center at the University's Graduate School of Social Work.
"The past 15 years have been the jewel of my professional life," he says. "My association with the MST family has been a joy—the people I've met and the lessons I've learned have been beyond my wildest expectations. I have been enriched by this opportunity professionally, spiritually and socially. I thank everyone who's been a part of this incredible journey."
He's looking forward to volunteering and spending more time with his young grandchild. "I've had a marvelous life with many blessings and it's time to give back in a stepped-up fashion. I hope to do more with my synagogue, particularly one-on-one visits with senior citizens in retirement communities," he says. He's also eager to move into a more time-consuming role as mentor to a second-grader he's been tutoring.
Bernstein is looking forward to personally thanking colleagues during this transition period.
Patrick Kanary, director of Case Western Reserve University's Center for Innovative Practices (CIP) is also taking on a new role. He is stepping down as director of CIP to work part-time on special projects at the University's Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education.
Kanary helped create CIP, a statewide vehicle for dissemination of MST, 15 years ago and expanded it to provide services and supports to providers, funders, stakeholders and policy-makers focused on evidence-based practices for youth involved in multiple systems and their families.
"I'm moving on from a tremendously rewarding career that seems to have flown by. My ‘work' has rarely felt like work; I've had the privilege to get paid to do the things I personally care about," says Kanary. He intends to continue to help influence reform in the juvenile justice system.
"I'd also like to find ways to exercise a more independent voice on children's behavioral health issues and step up my advocacy in that area. And I'd like to do some writing and enjoy travel and time with my husband, Jim, and our dog, Razz."
He believes the change in leadership at CIP will open up new and creative ways to go forward. "I'll miss the ongoing, day-to-day connections with colleagues and the depth of connection that's been so helpful in my development. I cannot think of a more creative, committed and talented group than the people at CIP and across the MST landscape. It has been an incredibly satisfying experience."
On Nov. 7, 2014, Leicester MST hosted the Midlands Network Meeting, themed "Working Together for Better Outcomes." Since Leicester MST has established successful links with a number of key agencies across the city, the network event was a great way to build on that platform.
Through presentations and real case studies, key stakeholders shared their experiences of what it was like to work with Leicester MST, what was successful, what could be improved and what was effective. Of course, the event included a lovely lunch! The objective was to share good practices and identify any barriers MST teams may face with relevant key agencies and partners. It was also an opportunity for Leicester MST to continue to improve teamwork and further enhance joint relationships.
Since its inception in Nov. 2012, Leicester MST has supported more than 80 families through their MST journeys. To give a "real voice" to the event, eight of these parents/caregivers agreed to share their experiences of working with MST. It was not easy to arrange: it required juggling to arrange childcare, organize school runs, arrange transport (therapists became part-time taxi drivers!) and even a bit of stalking! To make it as comfortable as possible for the special guests, the organizers catered to every eventuality, well aware that it was a lot to ask to of the parents to talk freely about the struggles they turned into successes.
This was the highlight of the event for everyone. Well worth every effort, it made the meeting unique. At times it was an emotional rollercoaster, as there was no holding back from the parents when they recounted their stories. The families were celebrated in how far they'd come on the MST journey, and they shared the good, the bad and the ugly. In one parent's words, "It was liberating to see how far we've come," and, as another mum put it, "I didn't realize that all these agencies were the backbone of MST." Another parent stated, "My family has had all this support, thank you, MST."
The Midlands Network Meeting highlighted how far Leicester MST has come in the MST journey and allowed key partners to share their perspectives of good working practices and successful outcomes. The event encouraged other teams to reach out and approach agencies with which they were struggling, buoyed by the successes made in Leicester in breaking down barriers with partnership agencies.
The real stars of the show, though, were not the team, partner agencies, councillors or high-profile attendees, but the eight special guests. They were the ones to whom everyone wanted to talk. Jodie, Leighton, Rose, Katrina, Lesley, Waheeda, Branka and Kerry—thank you!
During a quarterly board meeting of the MST Northamptonshire teams in February, the Supervisors and Business Support Officers for both teams were surprised with High Sherriff's Awards by Anne Burnett, the High Sherriff of Northamptonshire, England.
The awards, given to each team, for all team members, were in recognition of the "significant contribution each MST team has made and the valuable service given to the community." An unexpected additional item on the agenda, the awards were given deliberately as a surprise by Anne, who wanted to recognize MST Northamptonshire's efforts, in her final attendance at the local MST board.
Tessa Saunders, MST Supervisor for Northamptonshire North Team, said, "Anne attended two MST supervision and consultation sessions and showed a keen interest in the progress the families made in reducing the referral behaviours in the weeks between the two observation sessions. It was lovely for the hard work of the team to be recognized by someone who holds such a prominent position and has been a real champion for MST. She will be missed."
Phil Reynolds, MST Supervisor for Northamptonshire South team, reported that the awards came as a great surprise, and that the team is pleased to see their work recognized.
Within the UK, the High Sherriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year, given to an individual to represent one of the 55 counties in England and Wales. Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the Judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. In recent years High Sheriffs in many parts of England and Wales have been particularly active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people. Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people by endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work.
Featured MST-Related Article
In a recent Network Partner call, Scott Henggeler, Ph.D. presented on the "Transportability of Multisystemic Therapy to Community Settings: Can A Program Sustain Outcomes without MST Services Oversight?" an article by Julianne Smith-Boydston, Rochelle Holtzman and Michael Roberts from the University of Kansas. Download the full presentation to learn more about the 6-year study, its design and results.
A Contest: Telling Stories that Bring the Work of MST to Life
Success stories are one our most important vehicles for sharing the hard work you do everyday with families. Research shows that personal stories can activate the region of the brain that processes sights, sounds, tastes and movement. That is the part of the brain that impacts emotions and can motivate people to support your work.
We are having a contest to celebrate success stories about your agencies, your therapists and your families.
Up to 3 winners will be selected, with each winner receiving a $100 AMEX gift card.
In addition to an AMEX card, winning entries will be read at the closing plenary of the International Conference. You don't have to be present to win.
Who should participate? Everyone
Rules: There are no rules.
We have learned that the stories most frequently read and shared are the ones that are submitted by families, or are written from the family's point of view.
Confidentially: We take this issue very seriously. Identities of the family will be protected. The family must approve the content before it is posted. Any picture will obscure the identity of the family.
To ask questions or to submit your stories, email Lori Cohen (email@example.com).
Deadline: May 31, 2015 - deadline has been extended to April 6th
To give you an idea of what works for a success story, here are a few links to stories we've posted on the MST Blog:
Contribute to the New MST Services Blog
MST Services has been working to build an active and informative blog on the MST Services website. The aim of the blog is to be a diverse resource for all roles within the MST community. If you are interested in becoming a contributing blogger, please email Lori Cohen .
The following MST-related published articles are now available:
All existing MST-related publications can be located at the Family Services Research Center's website
Whatever It Takes Award Winners - Fourth Quarter 2014
Congratulations to all fourth quarter 2014 nominees for Whatever It Takes Awards. We wish to share two of the many submissions - one for Molly Bociek of Adelphoi Network, and one for the "mysterious" Amyme from the MST Help Desk. We hope you enjoy these stories and that you will submit your nominations this quarter.
Nomination for Molly Bociek
Molly has worked diligently in the MST Family - in various roles - for 18 years. She has supported and trained countless therapists and supervisors, and her clinical consultation has assisted hundreds of youth and families. Molly is viewed as a "senior" Expert within the Adelphoi Network, sought out by other Consultants for her expertise and experience. Many of her teams have been in operation for years as well, requiring a particular ability to balance the recognition of experience and still maintain consistent fidelity. Molly is always timely with PIRs, recording uploads, and development plans. Her teams are among the highest in our Network in relation to outcomes; the last six month dashboard displaying prominent "green" for her current 8 teams. Through well designed interventions addressing documentation, clinical contact, and sustainability factors, she has assisted several agencies in achieving significant advances at multiple points in her tenure, most specifically the last 2 years.
These performance gains are impressive enough, but what is most notable is that Molly has achieved these gains while battling significant medical challenges. The year 2013 brought the first round of uncertainty during her Adelphoi employment. Molly pushed through, continuing to work and displaying strength admirable by everyone in our system. She is approaching her current challenge in a similar manner; strong, courageous and working to balance everything on her plate. We are truly blessed to have Molly as a team member. She is the epitome of "whatever it takes" and is a true inspiration to her Adelphoi family.
Nomination for Amyme
The MSTI Help Desk is staffed with two stellar individuals who make customer service their number one objective and from all reports they do a great job of helping individuals. Kristen Dodd has been with MSTI since 2005. In addition to managing the Help Desk and the MSTI Call Center, she is the MSTI technical "guru" and can answer almost any question about the MSTI websites. She supervises Amyme (pronounced Amy) who staffs the Help Desk part-time. Between them, they make MSTI human.
Amyme and the entire Help Desk staff recently received the following nomination for truly doing Whatever It Takes for the MST family!
No one knows if Amyme is a real person, if he or she is a he or a she, or if Amyme is an alias for a whole massive whopping group of people. What everyone in the MST community does know is that sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org results in a fast, friendly response from the mysterious creature known only by his or her signature line: Amyme MSTI Helpdesk. Amyme answers all of the questions - many of which we should have been able to look up for ourselves. She also answers smart questions that we can barely formulate into sensible queries. Amyme fixes the things that we do wrong. And Amyme does all of this quickly, correctly, dependably and with a friendly tone, every single time. Most of the time whenever my teams need help from MSTI Helpdesk, they turn to me to translate their needs into English, so I get to see Amyme in action fairly often. It feels great to be able to assure the team that Helpdesk will take care of the issue once they see the email. (The only delays happen because of the time difference between Sweden and the US.) Thanks Amyme, you mystical, wondrous creature of cyberspace. Here comes a little MST WIT love from a grateful Sweden.
- Medicaid Discussion Group - The next call is scheduled for March 27th at 3:00 pm ET. Interested in joining this call? Please email Melanie.Duncan@mstservices.com .
- MST In-the-Loop e-Newsletter - Please contact IntheLoop@mstservices.com to be added to the distribution list or to suggest topics for future editions.
- Free MSTI website training - Registration is limited so sign up early here. Internet access is required to participate.
- Free MST jobs website, www.MSTjobs.com - You can post positions as well as review resumes of applicants who are looking for MST-related opportunities.
- Have News to Share? This newsletter has been developed as a communication tool to keep everyone well informed about news, events and issues that impact the greater MST community. We encourage you to explore the contents of this newsletter and provide us with your feedback. Feel free to make recommendations for what you would like to see in future issues. Suggestions can be directed to email@example.com .
MST Teams Around the World: #546(compared to 195 in Jan. 04)
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