A Revolving Door of Youth Arrests Had to Stop

Posted by Jessica Crowe, Tides Family Services

An MST team turned the analytic process on themselves to solve their revolving youth arrest rate

Ever felt stuck? We have. For about two years. We at Tides Family Services were struggling with how to best support our youth and how to help them keep out of trouble with the law. Our youth were getting arrested for various reasons, some with lesser charges than others. It was difficult to gauge the reasons why and where to start. It felt like we were doing the same assessment over and over, and ultimately, getting the same results.revolving youth arrest rates.jpg

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Topics: Reduce Serious Offending

MST: Keeping Troubled Teens out of Jail and with their Families

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Crystal had reached the “What more can I do?” stage. Her 17-year-old daughter, Danielle, had been getting in trouble for years. It reached crisis overload when the girl disappeared over a Memorial Day weekend. Crystal was sure she had run away, but hesitated involving the police.

As time passed, the mother felt she had no choice and had a PINS (People In Need of Supervision) warrant issued on her daughter. This meant that if found, Danielle would be returned to New York City, where they lived, and brought before a judge.cher_image 

Getting a warrant wasn’t a decision Crystal took lightly. She knew she ran the risk of losing her child to the juvenile-justice system. Danielle was found safe in Washington, D.C. And then things changed dramatically for mother and daughter. The New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) had a mandate to keep kids out of the system and with their families whenever possible.

So instead of Danielle being carted away, the court recommended Multisystemic Therapy (MST) as her treatment plan. Crystal was “skeptical,” as she later put it. After all, she and Danielle had been seeing individual therapists for two years at great out-of-pocket expense with little evidence her daughter was improving. MST was different, Crystal was told. A therapist would be assigned to the case, she would work with them in their home—and it wouldn’t cost the family anything.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, MST, Reduce Serious Offending

Attention Policymakers: Reduce Juvenile Offending with Prevention & Intervention

Posted by Lori Moore, MST Services

What we already know from years of research is effective interventions for young people in the juvenile-justice system must address risk factors across all aspects of the adolescent’s life. To succeed, the intervention has to take into account what puts the youth at risk for current and future anti-social behaviors, whether it has to do with the individual, family, peer, school or community. Not to be overlooked are such considerations as whether there are warm, supportive relationships with caring adults and positive peer associations, which help steer juveniles away from behaviors that put them at risk for criminal activity.

juvenile-criminalsWhat seems to be less known are the effectiveness of interventions that target young people at the transitional stage from adolescence to early adulthood, a critical time that can prevent criminal activity from escalating. As we hear about adult-incarceration rates increasing, and the need for more prisons, it is imperative that we put the right information into the hands of our policymakers so they know that interventions developed and used to address juvenile delinquency can, in fact, make a difference in the adult-criminal systems.

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Topics: Reduce Serious Offending, OJJDP

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