An MST Champion Does Whatever it Takes

Posted by Garry Blackburn, MST Supervisor

May 18, 2017 8:15:00 AM

Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith. Sometimes, it takes several.

Two years ago, Wigan (a large, former mining town in the north of England) had lots of hard-working and innovative services, but not Multisystemic Therapy (MST). Wigan took a leap of faith and commisioned its first MST team to work with complex cases on the edge of care.

One of the very first referrals to the team was Stephanie*, a 15-year-old girl with many complex behavioral problems. Numerous services over the previous nine years or so had worked with her. Eleven separate professionals/services were involved with the family at the time of the referral to MST, and everything Wigan had to offer had been exhausted.

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Pictured above is Laura Protano receiving her Whatever It Takes award

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Topics: Whatever it Takes Awards

Lessons from Sweden on Implementing Multisystemic Therapy

Posted by Emma Ulfsdotter, MST Sweden

May 16, 2017 8:15:00 AM

A little bit about us

Sweden is a small country in northern Europe with a population of 10 million. It is divided into 290 municipalities, all of which have autonomy. Only 25 have a population of more than 80,000. So, most Swedes live in small towns across the country. This means that there is no state involvement in local programs. The National Board of Health and Welfare gives guidelines for best practices, but these are just guidelines. 

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Topics: MST implementation

Celebrating Moms on Mother's Day

Posted by Laurie Spivey, MST Services

May 11, 2017 8:15:00 AM

A mom, a daughter, an MST therapist, Jennifer Cottingham-Lane juggles it all, and does it well

It’s before dawn in Houston, Texas and MST Therapist Jennifer Cottingham-Lane is up packing lunches for her children and preparing for another long day. Jennifer doesn’t even get one day a week to sleep in. Most nights, she goes to bed with her phone’s volume turned way up, just in case one of her MST families needs her. A single mom with two children of her own and a former college athlete, Jennifer coaches 8-10 year olds in track. Her kids run track and play baseball and somehow she manages to fit it all in, even though it means seeing her MST families on the weekends, early in the morning, or in the evenings. Jennifer is a master juggler. She has to be.

mothers day mst jennifer cottingham lane.jpg Jennifer and her daughter, whom she coaches

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Topics: family stories,

How Does MST Work with an Individual Offender?

Posted by Lori Moore, MST Services

May 9, 2017 8:15:00 AM

To understand how MST works with a youth in trouble, you must understand how MST works with the whole system

“Why aren’t you working with my child? He’s the one who got in trouble and is causing all the problems, not me!”

“I heard MST never does individual treatment with the individual offender. Is that true?”

Because Multisystemic Therapy (MST) draws the whole family and community into the treatment, some people think the teen with the unacceptable behavior gets no individual attention. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

To answer those questions, you have to understand the treatment, its principles and processes.

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Topics: MST Model

MST Strives to Understand the Cultural Experience of Families

Posted by Karen, UK-based MST Therapist

May 4, 2017 8:15:00 AM

Sometimes the key to engaging a family is knowing where they come from

Fifteen-year-old Aaron (not his real name) was referred to Multisystemic System (MST) due to physical and verbal aggression at home, starting fires and substance abuse. His mum was a single parent who had immigrated to the U.K. when civil war broke out in their home country. It was just the two of them. She had left behind two, now adult, children whom she had when she was only 12 and 13 years old. They were raised by others in her family. Mum had significant mental-health problems, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia and PTSD following trauma in her home country. Her Christian faith was very important to her.

The MST treatment did not start auspiciously.

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Topics: engaging families

"They Call Us Monsters", Teens Facing Life Behind Bars

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

May 2, 2017 8:15:00 AM

A thought-provoking documentary and discussion on the juvenile justice system

Within a few minutes into watching the documentary, “They Call Us Monsters,” screened at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management last month, I thought I knew how the film would turn out. It would be about redemption, because that’s the kind of movies, even documentaries, we like to see. But, I was wrong. 

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Topics: juvenile offenders

An Effective Model for Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Kellie Allison, Manager of Network Partnerships

Apr 27, 2017 8:15:00 AM

Staten Island MST-CAN program can and does make a difference

Just the thought of a parent becoming violent toward his or her child causes a pretty visceral reaction in many people. Most of us love and want to protect children, and the subject of child abuse and neglect makes us feel helpless and hopeless. What can be done with and for a parent who beats a child?

There’s no doubt that it’s a challenge. But there are options other than removing the child from the home.MST-CAN Staten Island Team.jpg

Four members of the Staten Island Family Services MST-CAN team

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Topics: MST-CAN,

For Seattle, Juvenile Justice Reform Includes Building a New Detention Center

Posted by Keller Strother, Director, MST Services

Apr 25, 2017 8:15:00 AM

Though controversial, King County is committed to keeping kids out of the system 

Sometimes, it seems like it’s one step forward and two steps back. Such it is with juvenile justice.

In 2016, California’s Prop 57, which made it more difficult to shovel juveniles—as young as 14—into adult court, passed by more than 2 million votes. This was a definite step forward.

Then, you have the Missouri statute that went into effect. Jan. 1, 2016. Now in The Show Me State, an assault is classified as a class E felony instead of a misdemeanor. This means that should a couple of kids—no matter their age—get into a schoolyard fight, they can be charged with a felony. Think about how such a charge and conviction will follow that child through the rest of his or her life. This is a terrible step backward.

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What a Difference MST Can Make: A Poem

Posted by Albert Mills, MST Therapist

Apr 20, 2017 8:30:00 AM

An award-winning poet helps a family use art to express their experience with MST 

Albert Mills and his twin brother, Nnamdi Chukwuocha, pictured below, were named the 2016 Poets Laureate of Delaware. They’ve been writing poetry and using art to express themselves since they were 7.

As an MST therapist for the last four-and-a-half years with Psychotherapeutic Children’s Services in Dover and Wilmington, Del., Albert has a lot of experience helping youth and families involved with the criminal-justice system. He is known for speaking publically in his community using poetry to talk about community issues, such as gun violence, poverty and the justice system. For Al, poetry changed his life. But to him, it isn’t just a poem. "You're not just writing a poem or an apology letter. You're writing your words. You're telling your story. What is your story?"

What follows is the story of one MST family who chose to use poetry to express the difference it made in their lives.

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New York Raises the Age for Juvenile Defendants, All Eyes Turn to North Carolina

Posted by Sophie Karpf

Apr 18, 2017 8:30:00 AM

As of April 9, there is only one state in the nation that charges 16-year-olds as adults

Today, 800 inmates in New York jails and state prisons are younger than 18. What’s more, 96 percent of these youth are incarcerated for non-violent offenses. But after an April 9 legislative vote, things will be different.

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Topics: raise the age

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