Multisystemic Therapy as an Intervention for Young People on the Edge of Care

Simone Fox, Z. Ashmore

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There are almost 90,000 young people in care in the UK. Many over the age of 11 years enter care due to antisocial behaviour, acute stress and family dysfunction. The short term and long term costs at an individual, family and societal level of going into care are high. There are a number of preventative interventions available for this vulnerable group in common use but not all have a strong evidence base. Multisystemic therapy (MST) is a community intervention which targets the systems around the young person including the family, school, peer and community. Some barriers of the intervention are that it does not target every young person at risk of care, nor is it available in every local authority and there is a low annual capacity. Some of the strengths of MST include the robust evidence base, the cost savings and the strong emphasis on implementation fidelity. It is argued that all young people at risk of care or entering custody need to have access to evidence based treatments which aim to enable them to remain safely at home. The implications for commissioners and social care practitioners in changing current practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Multisystemic therapy, family therapy, edge of care, young people, evidence-based, implementation fidelity

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