Youth Skills Training and Family Interventions
Programs to meet the changing needs of youth and families, to help them build the skills to address current challenges, and to move forward with therapeutic support are offered by Juvenile Court Services and in partnership with community providers:
Aggression Replacement Training (ART) teaches participants to gain healthy communication skills, anger control, and moral reasoning. Graduates of the program learn to make better choices when confronted by situations they would previously have reacted to with anger or other non-constructive behaviors. At the end of ART, participants will have:
- Increased social skills;
- A greater ability to choose positive options in a disagreement;
- A better chance at staying out of trouble with the law and remaining in the community;
- Fewer angry responses to situations; and
- Learned the techniques of control when angry.
ART classes are held three times a week for 10 weeks for a total of 30 hours. Classes are one hour long and held in locations throughout King County. Incentives are provided throughout the 10 weeks for successes in classroom participation. At the end of the program, participants who have successfully completed all 30 hours of training are rewarded with a graduation. ART is designed for youth, ages 12 to 18, who are on community supervision (probation).
Referral to ART is through a youth’s Juvenile Probation Counselor.
Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a therapeutic family intervention with sessions held in the family's home with a focus on teaching communication and problem-solving skills. The therapist and the family work together to define the family's challenges and create goals.
The goal of FFT is to develop skills that may lead to no further involvement in the justice system as well as identifying possible solutions to family challenges and finding ways to change behavior that fit for each member of the family.
Each therapist has a caseload of 8 to 10 clients, allowing the families to have easy access to the therapist. Therapy is on a weekly basis and the entire family is involved in the session. Interpreters can be used if there is a language barrier. Involvement in Functional Family Therapy usually lasts 3-4 months, with an average of 12 hours of counseling.
Referral to Functional Family Therapy is by a JPC for families who have youth between the ages of 12 to 18 who show challenges that can include: acting out behaviors, substance abuse, and/or conduct disorders; are on active community supervision; and are assessed to be a moderate to high risk to reoffend.
Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) in an intensive home and family-oriented treatment program to reduce high-risk acting out behaviors in youth. MST empowers parents with the skills and resources needed to independently address the difficulties that arise in raising youth and empowers them to cope with the family, peer, school and issues outside their home environment.
The therapy offers goal-oriented and practical methods of dealing with family issues. MST can help a family reduce a teen's criminal activity and reduce antisocial behavior, such as poor school performance, poor choice in friends, family conflict and other home issues, substance abuse, and mental health issues. The therapy also helps to keep a teen in their home environment by reducing the barriers that keep families from receiving needed services.
MST participants work with a therapist for 4 to 6 months. The therapist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and sessions are held in the family's home. The treatment plan is designed with family members and is family-driven rather than therapist-driven. Attention is given to the things in the youth's and family's social network that are linked with antisocial behavior. Interpreters can be used if there is a language barrier.
Referral to MST is by Juvenile Probation Counselors for youth on community supervision who are assessed to be high risk and at risk to be placed outside of their home (either through incarceration or inpatient treatment). These youth are between the ages of 12 and 18 and have a minimum of 4 to 6 months of supervision to complete.