Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect

Mental Health Does Not Currently Meet Criteria

Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) is an adaptation of Multisytemic Therapy for families who come to the attention of child protective services. MST-CAN aims to prevent child abuse and neglect, ensure child safety, and keep families together by averting placement into foster care or other out-of-home placements. It also aims to reduce emotional and behavioral health problems and increase social support. MST-CAN is delivered to families by a team that includes therapists, a crisis caseworker, and a part-time psychiatrist. A supervisor helps to coordinate and oversee the services and staff. Services are individualized based on each family’s particular needs. MST-CAN is intended for children between the ages of 6 and 17, as well as their families. Families may receive MST-CAN services for six to nine months. They may participate in three to five sessions per week and can access services around the clock, as needed. Usually services are delivered in the family’s home, but location can be flexible based on the needs of the family. All staff receive standard MST training, MST-CAN-specific training, and trauma treatment training. Additional training is offered through weekly phone calls and quarterly on-site booster trainings.


MST-CAN does not currently meet criteria to receive a rating because no studies of the program that achieved a rating of moderate or high on design and execution demonstrated a favorable effect on a target outcome.


Sources

The program or service description, target population, and program or service delivery and implementation information was informed by the following sources: The California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, Crime Solutions, the program or service developer’s website, and the studies reviewed.


This information does not necessarily represent the views of the program or service developers. For more information on how this program or service was reviewed, visit the Review Process page or download the Handbook.

Target Population

MST-CAN serves families with children between the ages of 6 and 17. Families who participate in MST-CAN are typically identified by child protective services due to neglect and/or abuse.

Dosage

Families can receive MST-CAN services for six to nine months. Families may participate in 3 to 5 sessions per week and can access services around the clock, as needed.

Location/Delivery Setting
Recommended Locations/Delivery Settings

MST-CAN is usually delivered in the home, but can be used in any location that is convenient for the family.

Education, Certifications and Training

MST-CAN is delivered by therapists with master’s degrees in social work or counseling, crisis caseworkers with bachelor’s degrees, and psychiatrists. These staff also have relevant experience and knowledge. They are supervised by individuals with a PhD or master’s degree who also have experience with child protective services, family therapy, and crisis management. In addition, all staff must participate in five days of standard MST training, four days of MST-CAN specific training, and four days of trauma treatment training. Additional training is offered through weekly phone calls and quarterly on-site booster trainings.

Program or Service Documentation
Book/Manual/Available documentation

The manual referenced below provides a detailed description of the MST-CAN model.

Swenson, C. C., Penman, J., Henggeler, S. W., & Rowland, M. D. (2010). Multisystemic therapy for child abuse and neglect. Charleston, SC: Family Services Research Center, MUSC.

Available languages

Materials for MST-CAN have been translated into Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swiss German.

Other supporting materials

MST-CAN Overview

Contact Information for Developers

Website: http://www.mstservices.com/mst-can-child-welfare-program

Phone: 843-876-1800

Email: info@mstservices.com

Results of Search and Review Number of Studies Identified and Reviewed for Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect
Identified in Search 2
Eligible for Review 1
Rated High 0
Rated Moderate 1
Rated Low 0
Reviewed Only for Risk of Harm 0
Outcome Effect Size
and Implied Percentile Effect
N of Studies (Findings) N of Participants Summary of Findings
Child safety 0.51
19
1 (2) 86 Favorable: 0
No Effect: 2
Unfavorable: 0

*p <.05

Note: For the effect sizes and implied percentile effects reported in the table, a positive number favors the intervention group and a negative number favors the comparison group.

Outcome Effect Size
and Implied Percentile Effect
N of Studies (Findings) N of Participants Summary of Findings Months after treatment
when outcome measured
Child safety 0.51
19
1 (2) 86 Favorable: 0
No Effect: 2
Unfavorable: 0
-
Swenson, 2010
New Report of Abuse of Child in Treatment 0.60
22
- 86 - 12
Report of Parent Abusing Any Child in Family 0.42
16
- 86 - 12

*p <.05

Note: For the effect sizes and implied percentile effects reported in the table, a positive number favors the intervention group and a negative number favors the comparison group. Effect sizes and implied percentile effects were calculated by the Prevention Services Clearinghouse as described in the Handbook of Standards and Procedures, Section 5.10.4 and may not align with effect sizes reported in individual publications.

Only publications with eligible contrasts that met design and execution standards are included in the individual study findings table.

Full citations for the studies shown in the table are available in the "Studies Reviewed" section.

Sometimes study results are reported in more than one document, or a single document reports results from multiple studies. Studies are identified below by their Prevention Services Clearinghouse study identification numbers.

Studies Rated Moderate

Study 10053

Swenson, C. C., Schaeffer, C. M., Henggeler, S. W., Faldowski, R., & Mayhew, A. M. (2010). Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect: A randomized effectiveness trial. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(4), 497-507. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020324

Dopp, A. R., Schaeffer, C. M., Swenson, C. C., & Powell, J. S. (2018). Economic impact of Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 45, 876-887. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-018-0870-1




Studies Not Eligible for Review

Study 10391

Schaeffer, C. M., Swenson, C. C., Tuerk, E. H., & Henggeler, S. W. (2013). Comprehensive treatment for co-occurring child maltreatment and parental substance abuse: Outcomes from a 24-month pilot study of the MST-Building Stronger Families program. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(8), 596-607. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.04.004

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 10392

Brunk, M., Henggeler, S. W., & Whelan, J. P. (1987). Comparison of Multisystemic Therapy and parent training in the brief treatment of child abuse and neglect. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55(2), 171-178.

This study is ineligible for review because the publication date is prior to 1990 (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.1).

Study 10393

Hefti, S., Perez, T., Feurstenau, U., Rhiner, B., Swenson, C. C., & Schmid, M. (2018). Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect: Do parents show improvement in parental mental health problems and parental stress, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. (Online Advance) doi: 10.1111/jmft.12367

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4).

Study 10394

Hebert, S., Bor, W., Swenson, C. C., & Boyle, C. (2014). Improving collaboration: a qualitative assessment of inter-agency collaboration between a pilot Multisystemic Therapy Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) program and a child protection team. Australasian Psychiatry, 22(4), 370-373. doi: 10.1177/1039856214539572

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4).