Joanne Penman

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MST-CAN: Stopping Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Joanne Penman

A psychiatrist from the Netherlands explains the role that MST-CAN can play in stopping child abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Children being harmed physically and psychologically are a problem for our society that has long-lasting costs for everyone. Children may experience lifelong mental and physical health problems, substance-misuse; homelessness; and involvement in the criminal justice system.

Authorities, schools and others are bombarded with concerns.

“I don’t think the children are safe in his care.” 

“Those parents are beyond help.”

“That mother is out of control. Somebody should do something.” 


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Topics: Child Welfare

Doing Whatever it Takes to Engage Families

Posted by Joanne Penman

Watch how they do it in the Netherlands...

The mission of Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) is to maintain the family unit while keeping children safe from physical abuse and neglect. It also focuses on reducing the mental health difficulties that often affect these families—children and adults. But we can’t start the treatment if we can’t engage the families. If they won’t open the door—literally.

family engagement open doors.jpg

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Topics: MST Success Stories

Multisystemic Therapy Helps Families Overcome Difficult Obstacles

Posted by Joanne Penman

MST-CAN and MST-BSF are helping families with exceptionally complex and difficult problems

"More and more we have recognized the complexity of the context—cultural, social and individual—in which child maltreatment occurs¹." There is no one factor that causes child abuse and neglect, and there are no simple solutions to fixing the problem. That is especially true when it comes to families who come under the guidance of Child Protective Services due to a report of abuse or neglect. The safety of the children and family is at risk and the parents may be challenged with difficulties such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems (i.e., depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.), low social support or social isolation, domestic violence, marital dissatisfaction, poor knowledge of child development and/or low community resources.

Interventions need to be tailored to meet the unique circumstances that each family is experiencing. Two Multisystemic Therapy (MST) offshoots accomplish that for such families.


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Topics: Child Welfare