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MST FIT & PSB
MST Family Integrated Transitions (FIT)
Researchers have also developed a number of adaptations of MST to meet the needs of different populations of children, young people and their families. Some of these adaptations are now being used here in the UK.
The MST Family Integrated Transitions (FIT) model uses standard MST principles with additional components to address the specific issues and contexts of young people returning home. In the US where it was developed it provides individual and family services to young offenders with mental health and substance misuse during the period of transition from residential settings back to the community. The goals of the programme include strengthening family relationships, reducing the young person’s substance misuse, improving his or her mental health and increasing pro-social behaviour and lowering the risk of offending where this is part of the presenting problem. Also, connecting the family with appropriate community supports and supporting the young person in reintegrating into school and to develop positive peer relationships.
The MST FIT programme combines a number of evidence-based interventions with the goal of targeting multiple determinants of antisocial behaviour, substance abuse and mental health issues in young people. The overarching framework of the intervention is derived from Multisystemic Therapy (MST) and this is combined with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy to target young people’s individual mental health needs and support those caring for them more effectively.
The model works for 3 to 4 months with young people aged 12-17 years and their carers while they are placed away from home, thus improving skill level of the current residential or foster carers and also with the young person’s family to identify the issues which may present difficulties in order to plan a successful return home. Once the young person has returned home, work continues with the family for a further four months and with other key agencies, such as social care and schools and also to support the family members to develop community based supports and reduce their longer term reliance on statutory services.
MST FIT has been implemented in Leeds and Northamptonshire local authorities since 2015, this was funded as an initial pilot by the Department for Education Innovation Programme. Both local authorities have chosen to continue to commission and develop the MST FIT service following the initial pilot, following positive outcomes for children and families and notable improvements in standards within their residential provision, this has been funded through local cost savings. Rotherham MBC is now working on developing an MST FIT service through the Life Chances Fund.
In July 2017, an independent evaluation of the feasibility of using MST FIT in the UK was published. The study showed:
It is feasible to implement MST-FIT in a UK social care context;
Young people, parents and staff benefited engaged with and benefited from MST FIT;
Positive outcomes included young people safely returning home and engaging in school.
In the US, MST FIT has been implemented in Washington State, New York, Connecticut, and Illinois, providing a service to young people who are among the most difficult to treat in the youth justice, substance misuse and mental health treatment systems. Research by Washington State Institute for Public Policy has indicated that MST FIT is both effective and cost effective in this context.
For more information about the MST-FIT model and research please visit the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences website, the MST UK website, the Leeds City Council website and the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse article, Family Integrated Transitions: A Promising Program for Juvenile Offenders with Co-Occurring Disorders.
For more information about the MST-FIT, click here to request an information sheet.
MST Problem Sexual Behaviour (PSB)
Multisystemic Therapy for young people with problem sexual behaviour targets young people aged 10 to 18 years who have committed a sexual offence or a sexual assault on a family member which has come to the attention of children's social care.
MST-PSB is built on the foundation of standard MST, is evidence-based and addresses the many factors that influence problem sexual behaviour.
MST-PSB therapists only work with a few families at a time and see the young person and family in their home setting. During the treatment, they
address the denial by the family and young person that there is a problem
focus on the aspects of the young person’s environment that contribute to the sexual delinquency
help the parents or carers to build support networks
show the parent or carers how to provide unambiguous guidance and support so that the young person can develop social skills that will allow him or her to establish healthy relationships with friends.
There is currently a MST-PSB team covering Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.
For more information about MST-PSB, please visit: www.mstpsb.com, the Early Intervention Foundation Guidebook or read the Community care Article, ‘Improving our response to children who display sexually harmful behaviour’ where Rory Patterson and Jessie Greisbach explain the steps Southwark Council has taken to boost support for children and social workers.
If you are interested in setting up an MST team, please visit the Implementation Process webpage.