MST-CAN: Stopping Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Joanne Penman

A psychiatrist from the Netherlands explains the role that MST-CAN can play in stopping child abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Children being harmed physically and psychologically are a problem for our society that has long-lasting costs for everyone. Children may experience lifelong mental and physical health problems, substance-misuse; homelessness; and involvement in the criminal justice system.

Authorities, schools and others are bombarded with concerns.

“I don’t think the children are safe in his care.” 

“Those parents are beyond help.”

“That mother is out of control. Somebody should do something.” 

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Topics: Child Welfare

Evidence-Based Programs in Australia, Include MST-CAN

Posted by Timothy Suttie

Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) commenced in priority locations across New South Wales in August 2017

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we work. We also pay respect to Elders past, present and future, and recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people from this land.

To support the rollout of this model, Their Futures Matter has developed a brochure for families who are referred to the service. The brochure, which explains what families can expect from the service, was designed in consultation with non-government organisations who are delivering the service, and the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec – the peak organisation representing Aboriginal community organisations in NSW).

Most importantly, feedback was sought from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families in relation to the design and content of the brochure.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Nine Strategies Schools Can Use to Help Their Students Succeed

Posted by Maura McInerney

School professionals play a vital role in children's lives. Here are 9 strategies they can use to help their students succeed in school.

When families and schools work together, everyone wins. When both systems are open to one another, the school-to-prison pipeline can be interrupted. As this new school year begins, take on the challenge to understand each other, and to support and problem-solve together. It’s a new school year and a new opportunity for success and progress for students, schools and families.

In Part 1 of our blog, we considered what strategies families could use to help their children succeed. In Part 2 of our blog, let’s consider how we can effectively build those positive home-school links by examining what educational professionals can do to support student success.

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Topics: Child Welfare

MST-CAN in NZ to Serve Abuse and Neglect Cases

Posted by Jess Byrne

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we work. We also pay respect to  Elders past, present and future and recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people from this land.

Child abuse and neglect is not unique to any one continent, country or city. Across the globe, governments and non-government organisations are working together to support those most vulnerable in our communities to reach the best possible outcomes and lives.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Keeping Families Intact with MST-CAN

Posted by Lori Cohen

Here's why a supervisor fell in love with the MST model

Remy Schonhaut wasn’t looking to join an MST program. Instead, it found her. And she’s more than glad it did. 

She was working in a residential program when she saw an opening for a supervisor at a prevention program based Multisystemic Therapy (MST) called MST-CAN. “I quickly fell in love with the MST model and its unique approach of keeping children in their home with their families,” Remy said. 

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Remy, middle, with her mother (left) and Scott Henggeler (right) at the International Conference 2016

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Topics: Child Welfare

Norwegian MST Program for Child Abuse and Neglect Wins Favor

Posted by Ani Vik

One mom's testimony about MST-CAN moves a minister to support the program

I first heard about MST for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) when Cindy Swenson talked at a national conference arranged by the Norwegian Centre for Child Behavioral Development (NUBU) in 2013. After several years of working as an MST standard therapist and clinical supervisor, I hoped this MST adaptation would come to Norway. When Bærum municipality decided to adopt MST-CAN in 2016, I knew that it was going to be a good change for me—the opportunity to work with the same program I knew and loved, but with a few new challenges thrown in. And most importantly, with a population I deeply care for and for which I wanted to make a difference.

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Topics: Child Welfare

How MST Therapists Respond to Childhood Trauma

Posted by Spivey and Moore

Many youth experience trauma and MST is prepared to respond

There is no debating that the number of young people in the United States who have been exposed to traumatic events is far too high. Although estimates vary, it is believed that the prevalence of such events in the general youth population is substantial. In one nationally representative survey of 9-to-16-year-olds, 25 percent reported having been subjected to at least one disturbing incident, according to Dr. Josephine Hawke of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. For youth involved with the juvenile justice system, exposure to traumatic events is believed to be higher than that of community samples of similarly aged kids. One study found that more than 90 percent of juvenile detainees reported having experienced at least one traumatic episode.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Multisystemic Therapy Blends Three ‘Parents’ Into One Team

Posted by Aime Bennett

Three parents can sometimes be better than one

Jane was a 13-year-old middle-schooler who lived with her grandparents, having little to no contact with her biological parents. By the time she came into MST, she was using drugs, getting in trouble, failing in school, leaving home without permission, and being defiant and aggressive with her grandparents. 

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Topics: Child Welfare

Multisystemic Therapy Helps Families Overcome Difficult Obstacles

Posted by Joanne Penman

MST-CAN and MST-BSF are helping families with exceptionally complex and difficult problems

"More and more we have recognized the complexity of the context—cultural, social and individual—in which child maltreatment occurs¹." There is no one factor that causes child abuse and neglect, and there are no simple solutions to fixing the problem. That is especially true when it comes to families who come under the guidance of Child Protective Services due to a report of abuse or neglect. The safety of the children and family is at risk and the parents may be challenged with difficulties such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems (i.e., depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.), low social support or social isolation, domestic violence, marital dissatisfaction, poor knowledge of child development and/or low community resources.

Interventions need to be tailored to meet the unique circumstances that each family is experiencing. Two Multisystemic Therapy (MST) offshoots accomplish that for such families.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Celebrating Universal Children's Day with the Science Behind Spanking

Posted by Lori Cohen

 Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

Nov. 20 is Universal Children’s Day, established by the United Nations more than 60 years ago. Its goal is to improve the welfare of kids across the globe. They are, after all, of utmost importance to the future of the world. As pointed out in a report to the U.N. secretary-general in 2001, "We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind."

Many people and cultures throughout the world condone using corporal punishment to discipline children. This flies in the face of the principles of the U.N. and its Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children are not commodities. They are not punching bags. Swatting, spanking, hitting your kid is a form of physical abuse that research has shown does not necessarily achieve the desired results. On the contrary, it is deleterious.

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Topics: Child Welfare