MST (Multisystemic Therapy) is a brief, yet intensive, home-based treatment specifically designed for youth ages 12-17, currently living at home who exhibit high-risk behaviors that put them at risk for out-of-home placement.

Common examples of these behaviors include:

  • Truancy
  • Curfew violations
  • Substance abuse
  • Theft
  • Aggression (physical and/or verbal)
  • Running away and/or Leaving without permission
  • Not following rules or expectations (at home and/or in school)
  • MST engages youth and their family to mobilize their collective strengths and decrease the frequency and intensity of the behavior(s) that put youth at risk.


Our program therapists hold Master’s degrees in areas such as, Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Counseling Psychology, and all have completed intensive MST training.

  • MST therapists work from cognitive behavioral, strategic, structural, and family systems models of therapy
  • MST empowers the caregiver to improve parenting practices and assists the family in increasing positive family relationships.
  • MST helps families tap into resources within their own community in order to develop a strong social support network and to maintain gains over the long term.


Youth are referred to the MST program by the Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Hennepin County Human Services Public Health Department.

Referred youth are either at risk of out-of-home placement due to delinquent or antisocial behavior, or are referred to the program in conjunction with their return to the community.
The MST therapists meet primarily with the caregivers in the home 3-5 times per week for 3-5 months.

Together, the MST therapist and caregivers target the multiple causes of the youth’s negative behaviors and work to promote positive change.
MST therapists are available to youth and their families, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to provide crisis and/or in-the-moment behavioral support.

In addition to working with families directly in the home, our MST therapists offer support and help make positive changes in the community, in the school, at court, or any other place where support is needed.


MST works in collaboration with the caregivers as a team, enabling our therapists to tailor the work to the specific needs and situations facing the youth and their families. This collaboration also allows for the caregivers to know exactly what is happening and why, creating an opportunity to address challenges as they arise.

We provide the skills, resources, tools, and support necessary to empower caregivers to break the cycle of criminal behavior, and keep youth at home, in school, and out of trouble.


Why do caregivers have to do the work when it’s the kids with the problems?

A youth’s behavior is heavily influenced by their environment, and the caregiver is the most important person in that environment. Caregivers know their youth the best, and have the most power and influence to encourage positive behavior.

Why 3-5 times per week?

Reducing negative behaviors and promoting long-term behavior changes requires daily effort. A lot can happen in a week, and without regular contact, we spend much of the session catching up rather than making real progress.

Is there a cost to the family?

No, there is no cost to the family.

What if the caregivers work full-time, overnight shifts, or work multiple jobs?

MST therapists work flexible hours so that they can accommodate their client’s busy schedules. We try to work together to meet at times of the day and/or at locations that work best for the caregivers.

For more information about the Multisystemic Therapy (MST) program, contact Jennifer Heldt by phone at 763.291.8198 or by email at

Click here to download the MST brochure