How Can Juvenile Probation Help At-Risk Youth?

Posted by MST Services

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Juvenile probation is a form of sentencing that allows young offenders to remain in their communities while under the supervision of the court. During the probationary period, a juvenile may be required to follow certain terms or conditions.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

The Impact of Status Offenses

Posted by MST Services

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Violating curfew, running away from home, or skipping school may not be good choices, but are they actions that should land a minor in the justice system? Perspectives tend to differ.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

How Can We Stop The School-To-Prison Pipeline?

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_41512058Suspending and expelling students from school and taking them through the juvenile and criminal justice system for minor infractions has created the school-to-prison pipeline. According to a U.S. Department of Justice complaint, officials in some schools give armed police the authority to stop, question, search, frisk, detain, and arrest students both on and off the school grounds.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Poverty Impacts Children in a Multitude of Ways

Posted by MST Services

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It’s hard to imagine that in a country like America there are children who suffer from the stress of not having enough to eat, a place to rest their heads at night, or how they will get to school. Even with all the programs developed by the federal government, poverty still takes a toll on a child’s quality of life. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

State Success Guide: MST in North Carolina

Posted by MST Services

North Carolina

How MST Came to North Carolina

In 2009, North Carolina’s juvenile justice system needed a new answer. The state had been experiencing high rates of juvenile incarceration, which started to cause significant budgetary stress on the system. Soon, budget cuts were necessary and the state began to close group homes for delinquent youth. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

State Success Guide: Ohio

Posted by MST Services

Ohio

How MST Came to Ohio

In the mid-1990s, the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) underwent research that revealed significant barriers to meeting the mental health needs of the incarcerated youth in their care. Motivated to address this, the department began looking for alternative treatments for delinquent youth – a search that quickly led to Multisystemic Therapy (MST).

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

A Coordinated Approach to Preventing Placement

Posted by Lori Moore

Police and professionals get called out to the home. Family members are about to give up...

Her family life was marked by violence. Family members felt so hopeless and unsafe, they constantly rang the police and other professionals for help. Professionals felt so hopeless as she and her family continued to pull on the limited resources of the community. More calls-outs came to the police from her home than any other. Everyone reached the conclusion the only solution was to place the girl in care. 

But not so fast

This young person was lucky. Her community has Multisystemic Therapy (MST), a proven evidence-based treatment program that helps keep young people like her safely at home, in school, while it restores the balance of how community resources are used.  

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Wigan MST Helps Prevent Placement

Posted by Garry Blackburn

This young boy was headed to placement, but MST helped him remain in the home

Kyle* made it clear to his parents that they had taken “everything away” from him and didn’t understand him. He took out his anger by getting into trouble. Stealing, joy-riding, using drugs, hanging out with friends who were bad influences. And the police constantly knocking on the door.

Kyle’s parents sought help from four different services that achieved different levels of success. But at the end of the day, Kyle showed little improvement, the police kept arriving with the boy moving closer and closer to placement. The mother remembers “the worst was the feeling you had failed as a parent that you hadn’t done enough, and this was our fault.”

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Members of the Action for Children Wigan MST team, above

 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Locking Up Youth for Status Offenses Is Counterproductive

Posted by Laurie Spivey

Putting youth behind bars for status offenses doesn't make communities safer

I am 38 years old. I am a wife and mother of three kids. We live in the suburbs with our dog, a hamster and two fish. I take my kids to gymnastics class, and I wait in the car-pool line. My life is not unusual. It’s just that I have an extraordinary job. 

For 14 years now, I have worked with kids who are on probation and parole. When I say the words “probation” or “parole,” I get lots of interesting reactions. Many people don’t seem to know that kids go to prison in America. Their kids haven’t been incarcerated, and so, it’s the furthest thing from their minds. The facts of youth incarceration in America are heart wrenching. While most people imagine young people to be behind bars for violent offenses, this is not the reality. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the real truth is that 95 percent of kids held in detention centers are not there as a result of violent behavior. Perhaps more shocking is the fact that a large percentage are detained and sometimes even placed long term for status offenses.

 status offenses are counterintuitive

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

How One City in Ohio Reduced Youth Imprisonment

Posted by Maureen Kishna

After years of collaborating, two local leaders helped bring MST to Toledo, Ohio and saw reductions in youth incarceration

When you meet matriarchs, you just know it. You feel their power, and you recognize their force. That’s how I felt when I made the acquaintance of Deborah Hodges, administrator of the Lucas County (Ohio) Juvenile Court and her colleague, Karen Olnhausen of their Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. In 2010, I met them at the launch of Toledo’s Multisystemic Therapy (MST) program. These are the ladies whom I affectionately call the godmothers of MST in Toledo because they had worked for years to bring it to their community. Finally, their goal was achieved through funding from the Ohio Department of Youth Services Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice Initiative.

toledo, OH

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform