The BH/JJ (Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice) initiative began with the hiring of two MST (Multi-Systemic Therapy) therapists to join an existing MST team out of Crisis Intervention and Recovery Center in Canton. Through a partnership with the Center for Evidence-Based Practices at Case Western Reserve University, data on our youth in the program will be utilized to determine reductions in out-of-home placement, better performance in school, and other important factors. MST is an intensive home- and community-based family treatment model for parents, children, and adolescents at imminent risk for out-of-home placement because of serious emotional and behavioral problems. MST is a time-limited intervention that lasts 3 to 5 months, and MST therapists use principles of family therapy to intervene directly with children and families.
Andy* was referred into MST through the Juvenile Court. At home, all he did was sit in front of the tv playing video games and fighting with his brother to the point that the little brother moved in with relatives. He was not attending school and his grades had fallen quite a bit.
Who are we trying to reach?
Juvenile offenders and their families in Wayne and Holmes Counties
What kinds of services can people receive? How many are getting services now?
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. 17 families have received MST services through this grant.
What recovery goals are in place for those in this program?
- Reduce the length of stay for youth who are placed out of home
- Reduce the number of youth who return to the juvenile justice system or enter the adult criminal justice system
Is there any proof that this program can help?
Child Behavior Checklist: The percentage of youth who started in the clinical range and moved below the range (which is a good thing) by the end of the study was 32% for wrap-only, 62% for MST only, and 20% for Wraparound and MST together. Scores decreased on average by 8.3 points in Wraparound-only, 13.7 points in MST, and 10.5 points in Wraparound+MST – 10 or more points demonstrates proven effectiveness (CBCL; Achenbach 1991). On the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), the percentage of those who started in the marked or severe impairment range at baseline and moved into the minimal-to-moderate impairment range by the end of the study was 36% for Wraparound-only, 66% for MST-only, and 26% for Wraparound+MST. Comparatively, 61% of Wraparound-only youth and 34% of MST-only youth were in the marked-to-severe range at the end of the study (Stambaugh et. el, 2007).
Is there anything else we should know about the Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice program?
A change in staffing impacted enrollment of new cases temporarily.
So, what happened to Andy?
The mother and father have more confidence in their parenting since their time in the program. The juvenile has goals outside of video games and although his goal is to be a professional wrestler he is taking steps in that direction by working out and looking into what he would need to do. He has been attending school more regularly and is seeing a tutor to help improve his grades. When he started MST he could not identify himself as having any friends and now he has a couple of them that he hangs out with.
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.