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MST-FIT road test in the UK

16th January 2015

MST FIT in the UK

Of the current 90,000 children in public care in England, around 10,000 children return home each year (NSPCC 2012). Approximately 40% of these children suffer further abuse and between 35 and 50% of children return to care at some point. Many children and families are poorly prepared for the reunification process and the resulting poor outcomes are costly to families and to the public purse. Costs to local authorities include social work time and placement costs but court and police time may also be involved. Many adolescents are accommodated for periods and then return home, either in a planned way or by leaving their placements. Many of these young people have poor educational outcomes and some may also become involved in anti-social behaviour and crime. There is also a limited range of ‘step-down’ placements for young people who have been in secure children’s homes or custody. Some young people may also become homeless following periods of accommodation or custody. There are currently few evidence based approaches working in an integrated way with children returning home from care and their families. The existing Multisystemic Therapy (MST) programme works with some young people who have placed out of home for short periods of time but it is not suitable for those who have been away for longer periods of time.

Scope and Objectives

To test whether the MST Family Integrated Transitions (FIT) programme can be adapted to the English policy and practice context and to work with children returning home from care, in addition to those who have been placed away from home in custody.


  • To adapt the MST FIT model to children in care aged 11 to 16 in England
  • To test the model in Leeds City and Northamptonshire
  • To provide an integrated service to address children’s behavioural, mental health, substance abuse and educational difficulties in their existing placement, including the provision of training to residential staff and carers.
  • To work intensively with parents/carers to enable them to support the return of their child
  • To implement a range of evidence based interventions, across all settings to improve children’s functioning, educational outcomes and mental health and to support successful parenting of the child.
  • To continue support to the child and family following their return home
  • To evaluate outcomes of the interventions and any future adaptations required

Click here for more information about MST-FIT