Functional family therapy
- Short-term strength-based intervention program, built on a foundation of acceptance and respect, with an average of 12 to 14 sessions over three to five months.
- Targeted primarily toward 11 to 18-year-old youth who have been referred for behavioral or emotional problems by the juvenile justice, mental health, school or child welfare systems.
- Consists of five major components: engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behavior change and generalization
- Services can be conducted in both clinics and home settings
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, the National Institute of Justice, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Approximately $2,000 per family
- Not available
Outcomes and impact
- Lower rates of juvenile and adult recidivism 30 months and 5 years after participation
- Reduced engagement in high risk behavior (delinquency, suicidal ideation, aggression) in children
- Improved behavior emotional needs (anxiety, anger control, impulsivity) in children
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- To implement the program with fidelity and achieve positive outcomes, providers should follow comprehensive guidelines for implementation.
- Providers and locations are nationally certified, ensuring that the program is being delivered with appropriate supervision and high fidelity.
- Participants are often referred to the program via the justice system, schools, and child welfare organizations. Partnerships with these actors can strengthen referral pathways.
- Developing trust with clients and their families helps reduce skepticism and stigma around the program and can improve recruitment and retention.