Laurie Spivey

Recent Posts

Charging Juvenile Offenders as Adults

Posted by Laurie Spivey

What price do we pay by charging youths as adults?

Sometimes young people do terrible things. Things that have lasting consequences. Things that require a swift response. Like two Wisconsin girls who were 12 when they were arrested on suspicion of stabbing a classmate 19 times. Though a decision about charging these young people as adults has yet to be made, in the state of Wisconsin, a child as young as 10 can be tried as an adult. Acts like these are terrible and heartbreaking and it leaves lawmakers, court personnel and the general public feeling like they have to take action. Is charging juvenile offenders as adults really the best answer?

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

MST-FIT: Breaking the Cycle of Recidivism for Juvenile Offenders

Posted by Laurie Spivey

The revolving door of juvenile offending can be stopped

When juvenile offenders move from incarceration back home and into their communities, it is a crucial period. Unfortunately, that period often results in a revolving door for seven of 10 released youths. They revert to committing crimes and are locked up again. MST-FIT, (Family Integrated Transitions) an adaptation of Multisystemic Therapy, has proven to be an effective way to break this cycle. It is an intensive six-month family and community-based treatment program that strengthens the family’s ability to support their youth and keep them out of trouble.

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Topics: Troubled Youth

The Pros and Cons of Home Drug Tests For Teenagers

Posted by Laurie Spivey

Should I home drug test my teenager?

Teenagers. Even ones who don’t get into trouble can raise their parents’ blood pressure to the level of an ER visit. But what about the ones who are skirting the line, maybe taking illegal drugs, in danger of getting in trouble with the law? What's a parent to do?

For those who think their children are abusing drugs, there is the option of readily available in-home drug screens. They have become much less expensive in recent years. A marijuana screen may cost as little as $1. There is a lot of controversy over resorting to drug screening. But having worked for nearly 11 years in Multisystemic Therapy (MST), I see drug tests as a huge parenting “win.” Knowledge is power. If you believe there is a problem, you can act.drugin_testing_smaller

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Topics: Substance Abuse

Is MST Helpful For Traumatized Youth?

Posted by Laurie Spivey

An MST therapist weighs in on treating trauma

As practitioners of Multisystemic Therapy, we are often asked if MST can be helpful for youth who have experienced trauma. While MST is not a treatment model designed to provide trauma-focused care, the short answer is—yes. 

traumablogTo understand how MST would respond to a youth who experienced emotional and physical distress, we should first define trauma. Then we have to take a look at how trauma impacts young people and plays a role in delinquent behavior. Then we must ascertain if it is related to anti-social behavior for each child we serve.
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Topics: Troubled Youth