Definition: 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. The goals of this model include increasing parenting skills and changing the behavior of the youth. Therapists are on-call 24 hours a day and meet with the youth and family in the youth’s environment.
Focus: Helping chronic youth offenders develop healthier coping skills and make positive choices.
Intended Client Ages: Ages 12-18, along with their families. MST targets chronic, serious, violent, and substance abusing juvenile offenders. Inappropriate referrals include youth referred for primarily psychiatric behaviors (actively suicidal, actively homicidal, actively psychotic, etc.) and youth referred for sex offenses.
Length Of Treatment: 3-5 months. Therapists generally spend more time with families in the initial weeks (daily if needed) and gradually taper their time (to as infrequently as once a week) over the 3- to 5-month course of treatment.
- MST Therapists must be full-time employees assigned to the MST program solely; with a case load of 4-6 families (not to exceed 6)
- MST Therapists must operate in teams of no fewer than 2 or more than 4 therapists (plus clinical supervisor which should be Ph. D level professionals) and use a home based model of service delivery
- Pre-training program start-up services (assessment completed by MST Program Developer of organization’s ability to successfully implement MST)
- Initial 5-Day Orientation training, prior to accepting cases
- Weekly phone consultation with the MST consultant for each team of clinicians
- Quarterly one and a half day booster trainings
- Ongoing organizational assistance
Summary: 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.