The Theoretical Foundations of Our Aftercare System

In the mid-1990s, the University of South Carolina (USC) noted that youth who were released from juvenile detention and prison experienced a high rate of recidivism; that is, they quickly returned to their criminal behaviors after being sent home. As an answer to that problem, researchers at USC developed what they call “Multisystemic Therapy,” or “MST.”

MST views individuals as being inextricably connected within a larger community that includes peer groups, schools, and neighborhoods. The MST approach is unique in that it works with individuals within their own homes and embraces the larger community as a source of support and help for the individual.

Over the past decade, clinical researchers have been tracking the effectiveness of MST, and have discovered that it is highly effective NOT ONLY for youth who are returning home after incarceration, but with a variety of other youth populations as well, including youth who need support in implementing a medical regimen for illness (such as diabetes), and youth who experience psychiatric or behavioral disturbances and are at high risk of needing out-of-home treatment.

Our approach is rooted in the MST model. We work directly in your home and focus our program goals around five key areas: personal, family, social, spiritual, and educational. Within your home setting, we provide individual and family therapy, processing, observation, coaching, and crisis management, and additionally work with members of your community to build support and strength for your family.

How We Provide Aftercare

For youth and young adults returning home from a Residential Treatment Center or Wilderness Therapy setting, our program generally lasts 90 days. We always hope to have a client enroll in our program several weeks before the child is discharged from his/her residential or wilderness program so that our team can make contact with the child and begin to establish a relationship of trust with both him/her and the whole family before the child comes home. However, we understand that the decision to enroll in transitional/ aftercare services may be made late in the residential treatment process and we can achieve that relationship of trust after the child has already gone home, if necessary.

Once the youth is home, your Aftercare Clinician will typically spend between three (3) and eight (8) hours every week in your home and community. He or she will immediately work with your family to identify both strengths and barriers that exist on five key scales: personal, family, social, spiritual, and educational. From that assessment, you and your Aftercare Clinician will develop a family plan and specific goals to be addressed on short-term, intermediate, and long-term schedules.

Our program includes both individual and family therapy, coaching, observation, community outreach, and crisis management.

A Detailed Outline of Our Aftercare System

While our clients generally spend 90 utilizing our aftercare services, we divide that time into three distinct phases that accommodate the emotional challenges of a child’s return home from wilderness or residential treatment. During each phase, the family completes specific tasks; progression through the phases is generally completed within specific time frames, but only happens as the family and Aftercare Clinician together agree that the client is ready to move on.

Phase I: Adjustment–the Return Home

  • Client, family, and Aftercare Clinician meet and develop a relationship of trust
  • Aftercare Clinician and family develop and sign a family contract
  • Aftercare Clinician, client, and family establish goals and determine phase work for all three program phases
  • Aftercare Clinician spends a minimum of six (6) and a maximum of eight (8) hours per week in client’s home and community, including:
    • 1-2 hours individual therapy with client
    • 1-2 hours family therapy
    • 1-2 hours observation/processing/ coaching
    • 1-2 hours meeting with members of client’s community
    • 1-2 hours reserved for crisis intervention/ management
  • Client and family spend ½ hour weekly in telephone and/or video cam consultation with RGTS director or supervisor
  • Client and family complete one to two family therapeutic assignments and process experience with therapist

Phase II: On the Path–Walking Forward

  • Client, family, and Aftercare Clinician continue to foster a trusting and encouraging relationship
  • Aftercare Clinician and family monitor progress toward goals set during Phase I
  • Aftercare Clinician continues outreach to client’s extended community (peers, teachers, coaches, spiritual advisors, etc.)
  • Aftercare Clinician spends a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of seven (7) hours per week in client’s home and community, including:
    • 1-2 hours individual therapy with client
    • 1-2 hours family therapy
    • 1-2 hours observation/processing/ coaching
    • 1-2 hours meeting with members of client’s community
    • 1-2 hours reserved for crisis intervention/ management
  • Client and family spend ½ hour weekly in telephone and/or video cam consultation with RGTS director or supervisor
  • Client and family complete three family therapeutic assignments and process experiences with therapist
  • Client completes two to three 1:1 assignments with each parent and processes experiences with therapist

Phase III: Perseverance–Lasting Change

  • Client, family, and Aftercare Clinician explore necessary steps for termination or continuation
  • Aftercare Clinician and family monitor progress toward goals set during Phase I
  • Aftercare Clinician helps client and family establish a relationship with an outpatient therapist, if appropriate
  • Aftercare Clinician spends a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) hours per week in client’s home and community, including:
    • 1-2 hours individual therapy with client
    • 1-2 hours family therapy
    • 1-2 hours observation/processing/coaching
    • 1-2 hours meeting with members of client’s community
    • 1-2 hours reserved for crisis intervention/management
  • Client and family spend ½ hour weekly in telephone and/or video cam consultation with RGTS director or supervisor
  • Client and family complete three family therapeutic assignments and process experiences with therapist

Program Options

Levels I and II (Standard 90-day Program)

Includes weekly in-home services from local Aftercare Clinician, plus one home visit by RGTS executive to ensure effective start-up of the program.  Level I includes a second Aftercare Clinician to assist with significant community issues (attorney, legal issues, substance abuse issues/meetings, etc.).  Additionally, more hours of services are involved with Level I.  Ask for details.

Level III (Modified 90-day Program)

Includes weekly in-home services from local Aftercare Clinician, plus one home visit by RGTS executive to ensure effective start-up of the program.