Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

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Scientific Rating:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Multisystemic Therapy (MST) has been rated by the CEBC in the areas of: Disruptive Behavior Treatment (Child & Adolescent), Substance Abuse Treatment (Adolescent) and Behavioral Management Programs for Adolescents in Child Welfare.

Target Population: Youth, 12 to 17 years old, with possible substance abuse issues who are at risk of out-of-home placement due to antisocial or delinquent behaviors and/or youth involved with the juvenile justice system (some other restrictions exist, see the Essential Components section for more details)

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 17

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 12 – 17

Brief Description

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family and community-based treatment for serious juvenile offenders with possible substance abuse issues and their families. The primary goals of MST are to decrease youth criminal behavior and out-of-home placements. Critical features of MST include: (a) integration of empirically based treatment approaches to address a comprehensive range of risk factors across family, peer, school, and community contexts; (b) promotion of behavior change in the youth's natural environment, with the overriding goal of empowering caregivers; and (c) rigorous quality assurance mechanisms that focus on achieving outcomes through maintaining treatment fidelity and developing strategies to overcome barriers to behavior change.

Program Goals:

The goals of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) are:

  • Eliminate or significantly reduce the frequency and severity of the youth’s referral behavior(s)
  • Empower parents with the skills and resources needed to:
    • Independently address the inevitable difficulties that arise in raising children and adolescents
    • Empower youth to cope with family, peer, school, and neighborhood problems

Contact Information

Marshall Swenson, MBA
Agency/Affiliation: MST Services
Phone: (843) 284-2215
Fax: (843) 856-8227

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2009