Bridging the Gap Between Families and Youth

    Multisystemic Therapy (MST)


          What is Multisystemic Therapy (MST)?

MST is a family and home-based treatment that strives to change how youth function in their natural settings - home, school, and neighborhood - in ways that promote positive social behavior while decreasing anti-social behavior. This "multisytemic" approach uses the ecological model which views the youth as living in a network of interconnected systems that encompass individual, family, peer, school, and neighborhood.

 MST interventions address those systems that are linked with anti-social behavior on a case-by-case basis.

The primary goals of MST are to: 

  • Eliminate or significantly reduce the frequency and severity of the youth's referral behavior(s)
  • Empower parents/caregivers with the skills and resources needed to independently address the inevitable difficulties that arise in raising children and adolescents
  • Empower youth to cope with family, peer, school, and neighborhood problems

Target population to received MST service

Youth, 12 to 17 years old, at risk of out-ot-home placement due to antisocial, aggressive or delinquent behaviors and/or youth involved with the juvenile justice system.

 Who can make a referral to MST?

Any agency and /or family can make a referral to MST and the referral will be evaluated and prioritized for program qualification and initiation. Some of the collaborating agencies that are referral sources for MST are:

  •  Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJDP)
  •  Department of Social Services (DSS)
  •  Cumberland County School System
  •  Cumberland County Mental Health Screening, Triage and Referral (STR)
  •  CABHA agencies that provide service to Cumberland County consumers

 Who is the primary contact for MST for C-REP?

Contact Person: Anthony Haire Phone Number: (919)234-8451, (910)488-7517

 What is the standard length of time for treatment?

  • Typical duration of treatment is three to five months.
  • From the first meeting the therapist is planning for discharge by establishing goals with clear criteria for success and by facilitating interventions that are carried out, as much as possible, by family members and other key participants.
  • The therapist will gauge decisions about discharge based upon achievement of goals.

At the end of MST treatment, parents have been provided with the resources needed to parent effectively and maintain better family structure and cohesion:

  • Are able to monitor their children or adolescents behaviors systematically
  • Have learned to use appropriate reward and discipline measures to maintain new behavior changes
  • Can communicate more effectively with each other
  • Can advocate for their children and themselves across social systems (school, social services, juvenile justice system)
  • Can problem-solve daily conflicts
  • Can maintain positive relations with natural social supports such as extended family, friends, and church members
  • Are able to maintain a positive working relationship with school personnel
  • Have learned strategies to monitor and promote the child's or adolescent's school performance and/or vocational functioning