Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family and community-based treatment program addressing the multiple determinants of serious anti-social behaviors in juvenile offenders.

The approach views individuals as being nested within a complex network of interconnected systems that encompass individual, family and extra-familial factors such as peer groups, schools, the community, and the courts and other service systems. MST focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders and strives to promote behavior change in the youth’s natural environment – their home and family, school and teachers, neighborhood and friends.

MST works with youth ages 12 through 17 who have a history of arrests and/ or other externalizing behaviors. The major goal of MST is to empower parents by equipping them with the skills and resources needed to independently address the difficulties that arise in raising teenagers.

Within a context of support and skill building, the therapist places developmentally appropriate demands on the adolescent and family for responsible behavior. Intervention strategies are integrated into a social ecological context and may include strategic family therapy, structural family therapy, behavioral parent training, contingency management and cognitive behavioral interventions.

MST recognizes that each system of care plays a critical role in a youth’s world and each system requires attention when effective change is needed to improve the quality of life for youth and their families.

Program Outcomes
An evidence-based practice, MST has proven successful in working with the most challenging youth and the circumstances surrounding them.

MST blends the best-practices of various clinical treatments, from cognitive behavioral therapy and behavior management training to family therapies. Evaluations of MST have demonstrated:

  • Reduced long-term rates of criminal offending in serious juvenile offenders
  • Reduced rates of out-of-home placements for serious juvenile offenders
  • Extensive improvements in family functioning
  • Decreased mental health problems for serious juvenile offenders
  • Favorable outcomes at cost savings in comparison with usual mental health and juvenile justice services

Many experts believe that evidence-based practices such as MST should be a standard for addressing the complex needs of juvenile offenders. MST consultants and trainers work with many provider agencies in helping effectively deliver MST services, setting up a network of partner organizations that are committed to the transport of the MST model with full integrity and fidelity.

Click here for CIP MST Programs Info. and Contacts-rev. Dec 23, 2023


New Study Highlights the Benefits of Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
Proven results for families and communities
In today’s era of tight budgets and demands for high accountability, states feel the pressure to invest in programs that will give them the most bang for their buck. The best way to meet these demands is by investing in evidence-based programs (EBPs) where research demons. Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is the leading EBP in the field of juvenile justice. Whereas traditional approaches to treating delinquent youths— such as incarceration and out-of-home placements — are tremendously costly and ineffective, MST’s effectiveness has been proven time and again. MST has been proven effective over the course of decades, not months. Long term follow-up studies found that MST reduces rearrests by 54% over 14 years, violent felony arrests by 75% over 22 years and caregiver felony arrests by 94%. The treatment generates a net benefit of up to $200,000 per youth.

While MST’s track record is impressive, the challenge of implementing a new evidence-based practice can be intimidating. To help states overcome that challenge, and better visualize how they can start successful MST programs in their communities, MST Services has compiled this State Success Guide. The guide outlines how five states implemented MST, and what lessons they learned. Read Full Report


Additional Resources:

MST Services
MST Services provides a wealth of information including results, helpful infographics, videos, and more.

“Considering MST for your area or agency?

Contact: Maureen Kishna, MSSA, LISW-S
MST Network Partner Director of Ohio
Mag19@case.edu

Works on MST for Dissemination

To read, “Combating Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System with MST” by Maureen Kishna, Click here.

To read, “Ohio’s Successful Youth Incarceration Alternatives Program” by Patrick Kanary, Founding Director of the CIP and MST Model Implementation Pioneer,Click here.


SOCOhio.org is presented by The Center for Innovative Practices (CIP)
and the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (CABH COE)
Part of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention
at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Services
Campus Location: 11235 Bellflower Road Room 375  | Cleveland, OH 44106
Mailing Address: 10900 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44106-7164
Telephone: 216-368-6293 | email: pxm6@case.edu
© 2022 Center for Innovative Practices, Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Calendar of Events & Trainings


Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

2 events,

-

Wraparound SoC | Ethics. Confidentiality And Communication In Wraparound And Care Coordination

-

CANS | CANS Assessment 101

1 event,

- Event Series

SoC Best Practices | IHBT Supervisors Learning Community (IHBT SLC)rvisors Learning Community (IHBT SLC)

1 event,

-

SoC Best Practices | IHBT Basics: Orientation and Phase 1

1 event,

-

Wraparound SoC | Practice Pillars STRENGTHS Training

1 event,

-

CANS | Ohio Children’s Initiative CANS Assessment and TCOM Training

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

-

MRSS | MRSS Supervisor/ Manager Training

3 events,

-

CANS | Ohio Children’s Initiative CANS Assessment and TCOM Training

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SoC Best Practices Equity and Inclusion | Equity in Behavioral Health for All Youth & Families in Ohio

-

CANS | CANS Assessment 102

5 events,

-

SoC Best Practices | Life Adventures for Families (LAFF) Monthly Training Series

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SoC Best Practices | IHBT Basics: Phase 2

-

MRSS | MRSS Core Model Training

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Wraparound SoC | Care Coordination Supervision Training

3 events,

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SoC Best Practices Equity and Inclusion | Working with Neurodiverse Youth

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Wraparound SoC | Practice Pillars NEEDS Training

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SoC Best Practices | Animal Assisted Therapy: Principles & Application Part 1

3 events,

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MRSS | MRSS Crisis Stabilization

-

SoC Best Practices | Pharmacotherapy 101; A Prescription for Avoiding Confusion

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

-

Wraparound SoC | Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Care Coordinators

1 event,

-

SoC Best Practices Equity and Inclusion | Exploring Alternatives to Out of Home Placements

4 events,

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SoC Best Practices | DBT for Complex Families Struggling with Affect Regulation

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CANS | Ohio Children’s Initiative CANS Assessment and TCOM Training

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SoC Best Practices | IHBT Basics: Phase 3 and Special Topics

1 event,

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Wraparound SoC | Practice Pillars TEAMS Training

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

2 events,

-

CANS | Ohio Children’s Initiative CANS Assessment and TCOM Training

-

Wraparound SoC | Safety and Crisis Planning for Care Coordination

2 events,

- Event Series

SoC Best Practices | Equity and Inclusion Learning Community

1 event,

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SoC SoC Best Practices | Workforce Ethics & Psychological Safety

1 event,

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Wraparound SoC | Practice Pillars DETERMINED BY FAMILY Training

2 events,

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SoC Best Practices | Family Engagement

- Event Series

SoC Best Practices | Adventure Therapy Learning Community (ATLC)

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

Wraparound SoC | High Fidelity Wraparound Facilitation Skills Training

2 events,

-

CANS | Ohio Children’s Initiative CANS Assessment and TCOM Training

-

SoC Best Practices | Creating Safe Spaces: Essential Training on IHBT Risk Reduction & Safety Planning

3 events,

-

SoC Best Practices | IHBT Basics: Orientation and Phase 1

-

Wraparound SoC | Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Care Coordinators

1 event,

-

Wraparound SoC | Practice Pillars STRENGTHS Training

1 event,

-

CANS | Ohio Children’s Initiative CANS Assessment and TCOM Training

0 events,

0 events,