Therapy called better than group homes

April 10, 2009|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,brent.jones@baltsun.com

Advocates for Children and Youth released a study Wednesday that says that more than 40 percent of children sent to group homes would be better served by Multisystemic Therapy, an intense, family-based intervention program. The percentage is twice as much as the state sends to such therapy.

The sample for the study included 35 children between the ages of 11 and 17, advocates said. After a review of court records, pre-disposition investigation reports, placement and treatment histories and other documents within the juvenile court files, the study found that 15 of the children were eligible for the therapy, advocates said. It is designed to strengthen parent skills and improve decision-making in kids through in-home therapy. The therapist talks to the youth, parents and others in the household about structure and behavior. The program is supported by the Department of Juvenile Services, which is more than doubling the number of eligible families from a year ago to at least 200 statewide. Advocates for Children and Youth says that number should be closer to 400.

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