Supporting Healthy Families

Helping Parents Navigate a Complex System and Keep Their Children Safe

Sometimes families need intensive in-home support for a short time. Others are caught up in the foster care system and need information and help to get their children back. Still others benefit from workshops and support groups. Whatever they need, our goal is to work with families on their terms.

Project IMPACT 

Most parents whose children have been placed in foster care are consumed with feelings of anger and confused and frustrated about their rights. They may also be in denial about their problems and harbor distrust and resentment towards the foster care agencies that took their children away.

Project IMPACT (Interventions to Maintain Children and Parents Together) helps birth parents understand what needs to happen to regain custody of their children and take concrete steps to make it happen. Staff conduct non-judgmental parent skills classes and host lively parent support groups. Our Parent Advocates, who have themselves had children in foster care, help parents navigate the foster care system. And the Parent Council gives parents a voice.

Prevention Programs

We operate a number of short-term in-home programs designed to keep at-risk teens at home with family.

Our largest program is Multisystemic Therapy (MST). MST is an internationally-known program that helps fragile families cope with out-of-control teenagers. MST’s goal is to keep youth arrest-free and with their families. The program, based on a model developed and researched by Scott Henggeler and the Medical University of South Carolina, provides three to four months of almost daily support by trained therapists. After 30 years of research and 18 studies, MST repeatedly has been shown to:

  • Keep youth in their homes, reducing out-of-home placements up to 50 percent
  • Keep youth in school
  • Keep youth out of trouble, reducing re-arrest rates up to 70 percent
  • Improve family relations and functioning
  • Decrease adolescent drug and alcohol use

For more information on MST, visit MST Services.

CV has been a Network Partner for MST since 2006, which enables us to train for and supervise replication projects. CV currently supports more than a dozen MST teams run by agencies in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and even in The Netherlands.

Adaptations of MST Models

The Children’s Village also operates programs with adaptations of the MST model to address the specific needs of various types of youth and families. One model which CV is implementing targets youth with substance abuse problems (MST-SA); another targets youth with problematic sexual behaviors (MST-PSB); and most recently, we are working with youth with serious mental health issues (MST-Psych).  CV is also partnering with the University of Washington to be a replication site for MST-FIT(Family Integrated Transitions), which is a residential aftercare model.

MST Benefits Both Our Economy and Our Kids

The MST model is not only cost-efficient, saving an average of $22,096 per treatment, but it is also effective, consistently meeting or exceeding the national and international averages. Learn more about how MST benefits our economy and our society here.

How MST WorksMST

MST interventions typically aim to:

  • improve caregiver’s ways of raising the kids,
  • strengthen relationships within the family
  • decrease youth association with negative influences,
  • increase youth association with positive influences,
  • improve youth’s performance in and out of school,
  • engage youth in pro-social activities, and
  • develop a support network of extended family, neighbors, and friends to help caregivers achieve and maintain positive changes.

The program uses a strength-based model that recognizes the family’s strengths and combines them with areas for change. MST services are delivered in the natural environment (e.g., home, school, community). The treatment plan is designed with youth and family members and is, therefore, family-driven rather than therapist-driven. The ultimate goal of MST is to build on youth and family strengths and empower families to build an environment, through the use of child, family, and community resources, that promotes health.

Youth and families participate in setting specific goals. At the beginning, we will meet with each family unit and work with them to make a statement of expectation of services and an outline of specific desirable goals, focusing on using the family’s strengths to make changes. The family signs this statement and we use this document throughout the service period. At the end of the service period, we evaluate the attainment of those goals and the success of the program.