Based on evidence and proven to bring forth positive results, Multisystemic
Therapy (MST) is a treatment program focused on helping improve the environments
and other factors of violent and chronic
juvenile offenders. This is an intense system targeting children ages 12 and 17 who are chronic
offenders. The program utilizes the family and community around the children
in order to provide effective change and improve the quality of the children’s lives.
Multisystemic Therapy is based one nine principles:
- Fit – It is important to understand the problems of the child and
how they are played out and “fit” with the current environment
of the youth.
- Positive Focus – MST is used to emphasize the child’s positives
and strengths in order to make effective changes. This is used to help
improve confidence and decrease frustration or anger issues.
- Increase Responsibility – Children can have their confidence and
self-esteem improved by having an increase in responsibility and decreasing
the family’s irresponsible actions.
- Focus on the Present, Act on Well-Defined Problems – MST focuses
on the problems that are happening in the juvenile’s current life
and act based on the immediate needs. You can define specific problems
and take action, tracking the progress of the juvenile and the treatment.
- Target Sequences – This treatment option targets behavior sequences,
as well as elements that interact with the juvenile’s life such
as teachers, family, peers, school, home, and community.
- Appropriate Development – All programs should be made appropriate
for the age and developmental needs of the juvenile. This is to help the
child get along with peers and focus on their vocational and academic
skills to promote positive change.
- Continuous Effort – The program should not stop after one instance.
Any type of intervention requires daily or weekly effort from family and
friends to help with fine-tuning and evaluations of the progress.
- Evaluation and Accountability – MST evaluates the progress of the
juvenile. The members of the team are held accountable to overcome any
obstacles in the way of a positive change and avoids putting blame on
- Generalization – Caregivers are given the ability to help with the
needs of the family post-intervention. This is the key to success over
How it Works
Most juvenile offender treatment models require the youth to go into an
office and speak with a therapist in that setting. With MST, the therapist
goes to the youth in order to observe the home, interactions with peers,
the school he or she attends, and the community around the child. There
is evidence showing that the community, family, and friends surrounding
a child can contribute to the anti-social activities and criminal offenses.
MST therapists don’t just operate during business hours. They are
on-call 24 hours a day and will often make visits multiple times a week
if needed. This is to help improve the parenting skills of caregivers,
work on family relationships, improve the friendships of the youth to
prevent hanging out with other offenders, and help with educational and
after school activities. The MST therapist and family of the youth work
together to build the most effective treatment plan.
For a free legal consultation, call 614-675-4845
According to the
MSTServices.com, this system has proven effective. By keeping kids in their home and in
school, out-of-home placement was reduced by up to 50%. Improving family
relations and keeping the youth out of trouble has helped reduced re-arrest
rates by up to 70%. It has also decreased drug and alcohol use, and psychiatric symptoms.
At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, our Columbus juvenile crime attorneys can help
youth who have been charged with various offenses.
Contact our firm today to learn how we may be able to help you.