Multi-Systemic Therapy for Emerging Adults (Baltimore County FY18 and beyond) (Annual)

Story Behind the Curve

The term “Disconnected youth” is used to describe youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither working nor in school.  The data describing the status of the indicator for youth who are “disconnected” are from the Opportunity Index, which is designed to provide a snapshot of what opportunity looks like at the national, state, and county levels. The Index examines factors that support increased opportunity and economic mobility.  According to the Opportunity Index 2019, Baltimore County scored 56.3 out of 100 for a B-minus score. The estimated 9.8% of County youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working are reflected in the B-minus score.  The 9.8% represents an estimated 9,440 disconnected County youth and young adults.

 

The overarching Goal of the MST-EA program is to reduce the number of youth and young adults in Baltimore County that are disconnected from education and employment activities with a focus on youth and young adults with a serious diagnosed behavioral health disorder and extensive justice system and/or social service system involvement (e.g., youth exiting detention and youth aging out of foster care).

 

Research has indicated that youth and young adults involved with the justice system and/or social services system are at higher risk of experiencing behavioral health disorders.  Youth with behavioral health disorders are more likely to not complete high school and to be unemployed.  The Objective of the MST-EA program is to provide intensive, long term support for youth and young adults in their efforts to reach developmentally appropriate goals around such life domains as housing, education, employment, and treatment and management of their behavioral health disorder.

Partners
  • MD Department of Juvenile Services
  • Baltimore County Detention Center
  • Baltimore County Court System
  • Baltimore County Office of the Public Defender
  • Baltimore County Department of Social Services
  • Community Solutions, Inc.
Action Plan

The MST EA program is currently serving youth and young adults with diagnosed serious behavioral health disorders, between the ages of 17 and 24, who are referred by the Baltimore County Detention Center, MD Department of Juvenile Services, Baltimore County Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore County Court System, and the Baltimore County Department of Social Services.

Program Summary

MST-EA is a manualized treatment that is an adaptation of the evidence-based treatment, Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST). The program serves transition age youth and young adults, aged 17-24, with a serious, diagnosed behavioral health disorder (e.g., mood, anxiety, trauma, psychotic and/or substance use disorder).  MST-EA treatment targets are achieved by changing how clients function in their natural settings (home, school, community), leveraging the client’s strengths, pulling in positive supports, and developing the client’s skills and resources to overcome barriers to success.  Evidence-based interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral interventions, motivational interviewing, affective education) are used to address treatment needs.

 

The MST-EA therapist collaborates with the client to design a treatment plan that can be implemented over a 6 to 8-month period.  Contact between therapist and client is frequent, sometimes daily (combination of in-person and phone sessions) with a minimum of about 4 hours of direct contact each week.  The therapists and supervisor work together to provide 24/7 availability allowing for flexibility in session scheduling and for emergency problem solving with clients and their social network. On average, clients participate in the program from 6 to 12 months. 

 

Clinical services are delivered in the client’s home, work, school, and/or neighborhood at times convenient to the client, with extensive effort devoted to engagement and retention of clients in treatment. The MST-EA therapist also works to secure and collaborate with the clients’ behavioral and somatic healthcare professionals to coordinate efforts around medication management and other healthcare issues.

Target Population

MST-EA is designed to meet the needs of transition age youth and young adults, aged 17-24, with a serious, diagnosed behavioral health disorder (e.g., mood, anxiety, trauma, psychotic and/or substance use disorder) and extensive system involvement. This includes youth and young adults involved with the juvenile and/or adult justice system and/or the social services system (e.g., youth exiting detention and youth aging out of foster care).

Governor's Strategic Goal

Improve outcomes for disconnected youth

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