The Family Partnership’s Keifenheim receives YIPA Friends of Youth Leadership Award

December 4th, 2015 – MINNEAPOLIS – Announced today by the Youth Intervention Program Association (YIPA), The Family Partnership’s Gary Keifenheim has been awarded the Friends of Youth Leadership Award. The award is presented annually to individuals who routinely go above and beyond in their commitment to helping youth succeed. This year, over 35 nominations were submitted.

“Gary has been a tenacious and tireless advocate for positive systems change to ensure that child and youth mental health needs are understood and addressed appropriately within the justice, educational, and social service sectors,” said Molly Greenman, President and CEO of The Family Partnership. “Gary is well-known, well-liked and well-respected throughout the northwest metro area. He is often the go-to expert sought out for interviews when journalists need information on youth development, or to describe effective service delivery and responses to youth problem behaviors for print or broadcast journalists.”

In his over 40 years as a clinical social worker (30 years at The Family Partnership), Gary has provided youth intervention programming along with therapeutic mental health services to well over 4,000 individual children and teens of widely diverse races/ethnicities. In addition, he has helped thousands more through his supervision and mentoring of over 50 other mental health therapists and student interns.

Gary helped launch The Family Partnership’s evidence-based Multisystemic Therapy (MST) model of in-home counseling for adolescents with patterns of serious, escalating risk behaviors and court involvement, and their families. Over the past five years MST has achieved impressive results in Hennepin County in improving youths’ success in school, increasing the youths’ association with prosocial peers, and enhancing the ability of youth to remain living at home and reduce out-of-home placement. For his efforts, Gary was recognized by the national MST association with its “Whatever It Takes Award.”

Gary was also the principal architect of The Family Partnership’s Adolescent Domestic Abuse Program (ADAP), a unique, holistic, 10-week therapeutic group program for adolescent boys involved in domestic abuse of a family member (most often a mother), or a dating partner. Rigorous research on ADAP found clinically significant results in decreasing physical violence and psychological aggression, and in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. The ADAP model and results have been of interest nationally.  Two nationally televised programs have shown the personal impact of ADAP on young men and service providers from Florida, John’s Hopkins University in Maryland, England, and Japan have sought out Gary’s advice to develop similar programs.

“Gary’s stellar performance as a youth intervention and child and youth mental health professional has had a profound effect, not only on the juvenile justice, education, and social service systems, but also in the lives of thousands of children, youth and families,” said Greenman. “Their difficult life trajectories are markedly more hopeful and productive, thanks to Gary’s care and expertise.”

Gary has been active with the YIPA since 1984, including terms as president in 1986 and treasurer in 1994 and 1995, and was on the executive board from 1996-2000. As president, Gary led YIPA to enhance its legislative advocacy and statewide coordination by expanding the all-volunteer association to include paid staff specialists. During his 30-year tenure with YIPA, Gary has advocated on many levels (including outreach to the public at events, and to policy makers at events and one-to-one).

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Gary for the Friends of Youth Leadership award,” says Paul Meunier, executive director of YIPA. “Gary has touched so many lives with his service to the community and has provided real value by improved public safety and less demand of public services.”

Gary’s commitment and caring for youth extends beyond the regular work day, and the borders of the agency where he is employed. For 20 years, he coached youth community sports teams and provided leadership for youth sports organizations. Additionally, Gary spends many of his vacations helping communities across the United States to recover and rebuild after the destruction of natural disasters, such as floods, tornados, and hurricanes.

About the Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA): The Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA) has been around since 1978. It is a non-profit with over 230 organizational members with a purpose of advocating for more support for Youth Intervention providers and training Youth Intervention professionals.

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