Easter Seals UCP and Haven House’s multi-systemic therapy (MST) program hosted officials from Chile’s Undersecretariat for Crime Prevention this month in an effort to help Chile improve their youth crime rates and create their own successful MST program.
Licensed by MST Services and considered model programs by the organization, Easter Seals UCP’s Raleigh-based MST program and Haven House’s MST program are designed for youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who have antisocial, aggressive / violent behaviors and are at risk of out-of-home placement due to delinquency. They also serve adjudicated youth returning from out-of-home placement, chronic or violent juvenile offenders and / or youth with serious emotional disturbances or abusing substances and their families.
Faced with a growing concern about crime, Chile’s president Sebastian Pinera created an initiative to address youth crime in the country and increase security and safety. The country is looking to create its own MST program in order to reduce youth crime and ultimately prevent these youth from being incarcerated in adulthood.
The officials from Chile shadowed some of Easter Seals UCP’s and Haven House’s MST therapists and observed their programs in action. While the systems in Chile are different from the United States, the kinds of youth criminal behaviors they experience are similar to those seen from MST youth in the U.S., including violence, theft, substance abuse and school problems.
“The undersecretary for crime prevention has made the development of multisystemic therapy teams in 14 locations in Chile a big priority over the next 12 months,” said Rodrigo Pantoja, chief of the crime prevention department and in charge of implementing MST in Chile. “We’ve seen the great benefits of this service in other countries and its improved impact on crime. We are hopeful to replicate some of those same benefits in Chile.”
MST Services is an organization founded in 1996 and responsible for guiding and overseeing the implementation of multi-systemic therapy in all programs worldwide. MST Services recommended the Chilean officials observe the two North Carolina MST programs because of the quality of the services provided by Easter Seals UCP and Haven House.
“We are extremely grateful for Easter Seals UCP and Haven House’s generosity in spending so much time with the Chilean visitors, helping them learn what MST looks like in action,” said Lisa Reiter-Lavery, clinical director and vice president of MST Services. “The officials were very impressed with the work being done by these programs for families in Wake County, and they anticipate that MST will be very helpful in similar ways for families in Chile.”
“The opportunity to share the principles of our MST program with our fellow professionals from Chile has been exhilarating for the Easter Seals UCP staff,” said Mark Germann, community director for Easter Seals UCP. “While the service delivery systems in our countries may differ, we discovered that we share the same commitment to excellence in supports and services that are made available to the individuals and families we serve.”
“We enjoyed meeting the team from Chile and sharing our MST expertise with them,” said Julie Holt, MST supervisor at Haven House Services. “Sharing our experiences with them was memorable, as we found them very eager to learn. We look forward to collaborating with them in the future and wish them luck.”
About Haven House Services
Haven House Services was established in 1973 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to and improving the quality of life for at-risk youth and their families. Haven House Services helps struggling young people and their families develop positive and successful relationships at home, at school and in the community.
Contact: Mark Germann
Phone: (919) 538-4191