Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect® (MST-CAN®) - OzChild

Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect® (MST-CAN®)

What is MST-CAN®?

Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect® (MST-CAN®) is an internationally recognised evidence-based (i.e. research supported) program by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare and as a promising program by the Office of Justice Programs. MST-CAN® is currently available in multiple countries around the globe including Australia.

How the Program Works

Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect® (MST-CAN®) is an adaptation of Multisystemic Therapy® (MST®) that has been specifically designed to treat youths aged 6 to 17 and their families who have come to the attention of child protection due to physical abuse and or neglect.

MST-CAN® is administered to families in the home and at times that are convenient for the family. It is an intensive treatment involving a minimum of 3 sessions per week. All members of the family are involved in the treatment. Common treatment strategies include safety planning, Cognitive Behavioural Therapies for managing anger and addressing the impact of trauma, Reinforcement-Based Therapy for adult substance misuse, family therapy focused on communication and problem solving, and sessions to support the parent in taking responsibility for the events that brought the family to child protection.

MST-CAN® is an intensive therapy lasting six to nine months that addresses the specific problems that brought the family to child protective services as well as important risk factors. The major goals of MST-CAN® are to keep families together, assure that children are safe, prevent abuse and neglect, reduce mental health difficulties experienced by adults and children, and increase natural social supports.

MST-CAN® clinicians work as part of a broader health and welfare team to provide treatment to the entire family. Guided by extensive safety protocols, treatment is geared towards preventing recurrence of abuse and reducing risk of children entering out-of-home care.

MST-CAN® is empirically-grounded and is demonstrated through multiple randomised controlled trials, resulting in a report to child protection within 180 days.

Key Facts

  • MST-CAN® is evidence-based (randomised clinical trials)
  • MST-CAN® is delivered in home and community settings
  • MST-CAN® addresses the multiple determinants of maltreatment
  • MST-CAN® provides an individualised safety plan for each family
  • MST-CAN® provides professional training and support
  • MST-CAN® involves quality assurance and fidelity measures
  • Licensed MST-CAN® Provider Sites

Find out more about Evidence Based Services