projectsMST Payment Options for Harris County Juvenile Probation Department

MST Payment Options for Harris County Juvenile Probation Department

SUMMARY – This report outlines ways the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department could expand its Multisystemic Therapy (MST) services by obtaining Medicaid revenues for eligible youth who are accessing the program. MST is an evidence-based, intensive, home- and community-based program designed to better serve youth and improve family functioning.

Project Details

In Texas, there are an estimated 20,000 children and youth at very high risk of or currently in out-of-home or out-of-school placement due to unmet mental health needs. Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is designed to keep children in their homes and at school by providing home- and community-based interventions to families in their natural environments.

MST reduces violence, other antisocial behavior, and juvenile justice involvement, and has proven most effective for treating youth who have committed violent offenses, have serious mental health or substance abuse concerns, are at risk of out-of-home placement, or have experienced abuse or neglect. At its core, MST assumes that to serve these children and teens, a treatment must have an impact on multiple systems, such as a youth’s family and peer group.

The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) has two active MST teams that, in 2019, served 150 youth and cost approximately $1.1 million per year. In 2019, there were 1,935 youth on probation in Harris County, and HCJPD reported that at least half could have benefited from MST services had the program been large enough to serve them. In this project, the Hackett Center for Mental Health partnered with HCJPD to pinpoint several strategies to increase HCJPD’s revenue for its MST team with a focus on assisting more youth in the future.

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