Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC)
MTFC In The News
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Adolescents (MTFC-A) is a cost-effective alternative to group or residential treatment, incarceration, and hospitalization for adolescents who have problems with chronic antisocial behavior, emotional disturbance, and delinquency. It targets adolescents with histories of chronic and severe criminal behavior at risk of incarceration and those with severe mental health problems at risk for psychiatric hospitalization. Community foster families are recruited, trained, and closely supervised to provide MTFC-placed adolescents with treatment and intensive supervision at home, in school, and in the community. The community family environment provides clear and consistent limits with follow-through on consequences; positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior; a relationship with a mentoring adult; and separation from delinquent peers. Training for the community foster families emphasizes behavior management methods to provide youth with a structured and therapeutic living environment. After completing a pre-service training and placement of the youth, MTFC parents attend a weekly group meeting run by a program supervisor where ongoing support and supervision are provided. Foster parents are contacted daily during telephone calls to check on youth progress and problems. MTFC staff members are available for consultation and crisis intervention 24/7. The youth's biological or adoptive family receive services throughout the placement and family therapy is provided with the goal of returning the youth back to the home. The guardians are supported and taught to use behavior management methods used in the MTFC foster home. Closely supervised home visits are conducted throughout the youth's placement in MTFC. Parents are encouraged to have frequent contact with the MTFC program supervisor to get information about their child's progress in the program. Frequent contact is maintained between the MTFC program supervisor and the youth's case workers, parole/probation officer, teachers, work supervisors, and other involved adults. Evaluations of MTFC have demonstrated that program youth, compared to control group youth:
Spent 60% fewer days incarcerated at 12-month follow-up;
Had significantly fewer subsequent arrests;
Ran away from their programs, on average, three time less often;
Had significantly less hard drug use in the follow-up period;
Had quicker community placement from more restrictive settings (e.g., hospital, detention); and
Had better school attendance and homework completion at 24-months follow-up.
National Site: Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care
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