F.A.S.T. Family Assessment and Strategic Therapy Program

An Intensive In-Home Therapy Program

Designed to increase access to treatment, reduce out of home placements and improve outcomes for children, youth and families

Target Population:  Children and youth on probation (ages 8-17) at risk for out-of-home placement or whose level of need exceeds what is available in lower levels of care due to serious emotional and behavioral problems.  Due to emphasis on family-oriented services, youth must have at least one stable caregiver (parent or other) who is willing to actively participate in treatment.

Presenting Problems:  Substance abuse, violence, behavior/conduct problems, delinquency, sexual acting out behaviors, parenting and family systems issues

Treatment Focus:  Utilizes a strategic family systems approach to involve all members of the family, as maladaptive family interactions are a key contributing factor to juvenile justice involvement.  Utilizes motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to target and improve maladaptive family interactions and seeks to positively restructure the way family members act toward each other

Treatment Intensity and Duration:             Average of 2-4 sessions per week, 1-2 hours per session, for a duration of 3-6 months. Services are provided by a master’s level therapist; services can be expanded with need or in response to a crisis

Treatment Location:            Will be provided in the family home, youth’s school and appropriate local community settings

Waitlist:  Services will begin within 10 business days of referral. However, with advance notice, services can be in place upon release or court-order of a client within 1-2 days


Program Components:

  1. Develop a therapeutic alliance with each family member and with the family as a whole utilizing motivational interviewing techniques.

  2. Diagnose the nature of the family strengths and problematic relationships to look at the impact they have upon the child or youth’s behavior.

  3. Use of assessment tools (individual and family functioning) to establish data regarding problematic factors to enhance program decision making, establishing treatment goals andassessing program results (McMaster Family Functioning-FAD: Family Assessment Device, GAIN: Global Assessment of Individual Needs [school problems, work problems, physical health, sources of stress, risk behaviors, mental health, substance abuse, crime and violence, life satisfaction] )

  4. Develop a treatment strategy aimed at capitalizing on the strengths and reducing problematic family relationships.  The approach is a well -defined, planned-out, problem-focused, direction-oriented and practical for the specific family to be able to move from problematic to competent interactions.

  5. Implement change strategies to improve parent-child/youth interactions, parent training, developing conflict resolution, parenting and communication skills, and family therapy in order to strengthen and preserve families to prevent out of home placement.

  6. Specific treatment goals are:

·      Increased family participation in therapy

·      Improvement in maladaptive patterns of family interactions (family functioning); improvement in effective parenting practices

·      Improvement in family communication, problem solving skills and conflict resolution

·      Improvement in family cohesiveness, collaboration and bonding

·      Increased opportunities for healthy success in home, school, community

·      Increased opportunities for connection to community services for on-going support