Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN)

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About This Program

Target Population: Families who have come to the attention of Child Protective Services within the past 180 days due to the physical abuse and/or neglect of a child in the family between the ages of 6 and 17; where the child is still living with them or is in foster care with the intent of reunifying with the parent(s); other criteria may apply

For children/adolescents ages: 6 – 17

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 6 – 17

Brief Description

MST-CAN is for families with serious clinical needs who have come to the attention of child protective services (CPS) due to physical abuse and/or neglect. MST-CAN clinicians work on a team of 3 therapists, a crisis caseworker, a part-time psychiatrist who can treat children and adults, and a full-time supervisor. Each therapist carries a maximum caseload of 4 families. Treatment is provided to all adults and children in the family. Services are provided in the family’s home or other convenient places. Extensive safety protocols are geared towards preventing re-abuse and placement of children and the team works to foster a close working relationship between CPS and the family. Empirically-based treatments are used when needed and include functional analysis of the use of force, family communication and problem solving, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anger management and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clarification of the abuse or neglect, and Reinforcement Based Therapy for adult substance abuse.

Program Goals:

The goals of Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) are:

  • Reduce abuse or neglect
  • Reduce out-of-home placement
  • Improve parenting (without violence, psychological aggression, or neglect)
  • Improve parent mental health functioning
  • Improve youth mental health functioning
  • Increase social support

Contact Information

Melanie Duncan, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: MST Services
Phone: (843) 284-2221
Fax: (843) 856-8227

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2012