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Youth skills training and family interventions

Evidence-based programs that help court-involved youth and families build skills, work through challenges, and get therapeutic support. A Juvenile Probation Counselor (JPC) decides if these programs are a good fit.

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

In this approach, a therapist holds sessions in the family's home. The therapist and the family work together to define challenges and create goals. They also learn communication and problem-solving skills. FFT can help a family develop skills that may lead to no further involvement in the justice system. It also lays out 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 to 4 months, with an average of 12 hours of counseling.

A JPC refers a family to FFT. It is for families who have youth between the ages of 12 to 18 who show 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)

MST in an intensive home treatment program to reduce high-risk behaviors in youth. The program gives parents or guardians new tools for difficulties of raising a youth. It empowers them to cope with the family, peer, school, and issues outside their home environment. The goal is to keep families together. These youth are between the ages of 12 to18 and have a minimum of 4 to 6 months of supervision to complete. 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 including

  • Poor school performance
  • Poor choice in friends
  • Family conflict and other home issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health issues

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. Attention is given to the things in the youth's and family's social network linked with antisocial behavior. Interpreters can be used if there is a language barrier.

A JPC refers a youth to community supervision if they assessed to be high risk and at risk to be placed outside of their home (either through incarceration or inpatient treatment).