Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is family and community-based treatment for juveniles with complex clinical, social, and educational problems. This therapy is offered to youth between the ages of 11 and 17 who are at high risk of commitment to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. A Master’s level therapist is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide therapy in homes, neighborhoods, schools, and communities where the young person lives. The treatment program promotes behavioral change in a juvenile’s natural environment, while the therapist identifies problems throughout the family and targets those areas for change. This program has a proven ability to assist families and promote improved functioning in the family unit. Throughout the state, the program has reduced arrest rates by more than 25 percent and decreased instances of mental health and substance abuse in serious offenders.
The program has been proven effective throughout the state in reducing the number of commitments to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice through the use of evidence based programming (EPB). Caritas Family Solutions currently provides MST to nine counties in Southern Illinois: Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, and Union. Funding is provided by Redeploy Illinois through a subcontract with Union County, and by a grant from the Illinois Association of Juvenile Justice Councils.
We also provide cognitive behavioral groups to juveniles in the Redeploy program. This form of therapy, called WAIT (Washington Aggression Intervention Training), teaches juveniles positive social skills, anger control, and moral reasoning in a group setting. The 10-week WAIT program has proven to reduce recidivism in young offenders and will serve a total of 120 juveniles during a one-year period.
Juvenile Probation Officers make recommendations to juvenile court for offenders in need of MST and WAIT services based on the youth’s history of delinquency, offender risk level, and level of risk of commitment to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. School personnel may now also make referrals.
The state of Illinois spends nearly $100,000 per year to serve a child in prison, but only $6,000 per year to serve a child in the community. MST and WAIT are programs that keep kids out of the Department of Juvenile Justice, which helps reduce the number of crime victims and creates safer communities across Illinois. These young offenders learn how to end their destructive behaviors and prevent a future of criminal behavior and incarceration.
The MST and WAIT programs are offered through our Regional Office in Carterville. If you have any questions, contact the Caritas MST Supervisor at (618) 985-2000 x244.
Further information about MST can be found here.