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Multisystemic Therapy

What is MST?
Multisystemic Therapy is a family- and community-based treatment for youth with complex clinical, social, and educational problems. MST is delivered in homes, neighborhoods, schools and communities by master's level professionals with low case loads.  A crucial aspect of MST is its emphasis on promoting behavior change in the youth's natural environment.  Initial family sessions identify the strength and weaknesses of the adolescent, the family, and their transactions with extra familial systems (e.g., peers, friends, school, parental workplace).  Identified problems throughout the family are explicitly targeted for change, and the strengths of each system are used to facilitate such change.  Although specific strengths and weaknesses can vary widely from family to family, several problem areas are typically identified for serious juvenile offenders and their families.  Additional information about MST is available via the Internet at
Who is MST for?
The MST program targets youth, ages 12-17, who are recommended for a community-based, family focused program, as an alternative to out-of-home placement due to delinquent or anti-social behavior.  MST also accepts youth, ages 12-17, who are in an out-of-home placement due to delinquent or anti-social behavior and are recommended for accelerated return to the community. All youth and families who enter the MST Program are asked to make a commitment verifying their willingness to participate in the program and comply with all program requirements.
COFY’s MST Teams
COFY currently operates two MST teams with a total of 8 MST therapists.  50% of the therapists are bilingual in English and Spanish.  Caseloads range from 4 to 6 families at a time, averaging 5 over the course of the year.  Duration of treatment ranges from 3-5 months, averaging 4 months.

How does a person receive MST through COFY?

Any person interested in making an MST referral may call our office at 925-943-1794 to informally discuss whether a potential referral would be appropriate for MST, and to determine the appropriate method for initiating and managing a formal referral.


  • For Caregivers and Youth

All of Contra Costa County and California

East Contra Costa County

West Contra Costa County

For Professionals