CARTERVILLE – Caritas Family Solutions was awarded a $60,000 grant from the Illinois Association of Juvenile Justice Councils to support the Multisystemic Therapy (MST) program offered through its Regional Office in Carterville. The grant funding was made available through the Violence Prevention Project for a target audience of at-risk youth from 12 to 17 in Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson and Saline counties.

Multisystemic Therapy is a family and community-based treatment for juveniles with complex social, clinical and educational issues. It strives to change how youth function in their natural settings – home, school and neighborhood – in ways that promote positive social behavior and decrease anti-social behavior. Services are provided at the youth’s home.

“This intensive, in-home therapy usually lasts around four months,” Jessica Hutton of Caritas said.

Caritas has provided MST services since 2014. However, they used to be available to only a small number of clients. The grant will allow Caritas to offer MST services to a larger number of people.

“The grant is a one-shot deal,” Hutton said.

Caritas Family Solutions has provided MST services since 2014. Initial funding for MST at Caritas was secured through Union County’s participation in Redeploy Illinois, a state-wide program to decrease juvenile incarceration through community programs that maintain public safety and promote positive outcomes for youth. With the additional grant funding from the IAJCC, Caritas can expand MST services to a wider geographic area with a less restrictive referral process.

During an open house on April 9, Caritas staff introduced the program to those who might refer a youth. Referrals are a simple form that asks questions about the youth’s behavior and desired outcomes.

Therapists empower parents and caregivers to focus the youth on school and gaining job skills as well as introducing them to recreational activities as an alternative to negative behaviors. Evidence has shown that MST significantly reduces arrest rates and incarceration costs. More information is available at caritasfamilysolutions.org.

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