Southern IL program helps youth stay out of juvenile justice system

KFVS-TV (Cape Girardeau, MO)

June 2, 2015

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) – A new program is coming to southern Illinois to help children stay out of the juvenile justice system.

It’s called Multi-Systemic Therapy, a program that’s been used around the world. The Caritas Family Solutions wanted to incorporate the program and bring it to southern Illinois.

Therapists go out into the homes three to four times a week and work with families who have children with delinquency issues.

Regional Director for Carterville’s Caritas Family Solutions, Michelle Bradley, said while there are a lot of evidence-based programs that help with children stay out of detention centers, this is first program in southern Illinois where the entire family is seen on a consistent basis.

“We we were able to work with families, prevent children from going to the juvenile justice and end the continuing cycle and basically fix problems in the home so that they can stay in the community and become productive citizens,” Bradley said.

The funding for this program comes from Redeploy Illinois, and referrals come to the agency from the juvenile probation officers in six counties of southern Illinois.

With this program, Bradley said research has shown arrests rates have gone down 25 to 70 percent, out-of-home placements also reduced 47 to 64 percent, better family functioning, reduced instances of substance abuse, and fewer mental health problems for serious offenders.