MST in Pennsylvania: Proven Successful in Helping Juvenile Offenders

Posted by Elizabeth Campbell, Ph.D., EPISCenter and Lori Moore, MST Services

Evidence-based interventions in Pennsylvania yield reductions in placement rates

The state of Pennsylvania has a long history of doing right by its high-risk youth. It followed the example set by Illinois in 1899 of not looking on children and adolescents as being solely responsible for their behavior. Courts would not merely mete out punishment. They would look for ways to rehabilitate the defendants.

One hundred years later, alongside a number of initiatives to improve its juvenile justice system, Pennsylvania leaders began encouraging the adoption of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) such as Multisystemic Therapy (MST) and Functional Family Therapy (FFT) as a way to help troubled youth, keep them at home and out of prison.

Based on evaluations and outcome reports by the EPISCenter, EBIs are accomplishing just that.PA_chart

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Topics: MST, evidence-based, evidence-based intervention

What Makes MST so Effective?

Posted by Jamie Bunch-Sanfilippo

10-year MST veteran shares thoughts on what makes the evidence-based model work

Marta Lear has been a Multisystemic Therapy (MST) supervisor for 10 years. In that time, she witnessed up close the elements that contribute to MST being such a powerful tool in helping chronic juvenile offenders get on the right track to becoming successful, productive adults.

One extremely important factor Lear found was the high level of support and guidance provided to therapists and supervisors by MST, which included the quality of  booster trainings. In other programs, she says, therapists may get adequate training and even follow-up booster sessions. However, they often lack a focus on sustainability of the program, as well as fidelity to the model. MST requires both.MST Supervisor shares advice

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, MST, MST, evidence-based

Experts Weigh in on Why Sending Kids To Prison Doesn't Work

Posted by MST Services

Sending kids to prison doesn't work

Does it stand to reason that a delinquent 15-year-old sent to state detention for six months where he receives no counseling, no rehab and little or no education will return home better adjusted and less likely to commit crimes?

William Byars Jr., former director of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, doesn’t think so. “I believe if you are raising a teenager in prison, you’re probably raising a convict.” What happens is the boy picks up new ways to get into trouble from others in the facility. They don’t talk about the Theory of Relativity or “Moby Dick.” No, they’re talking about getting high, getting even for some perceived slight, how to rob a liquor store, egging each other on, each trying to be the big man.

Watch the video to hear from experts and parents of juveniles on why sending kids to prison doesn't work.

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Topics: MST outcomes, evidence-based, Juvenile crime

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