Teenager Mona was at risk of being placed in care as she was being physically and verbally aggressive towards her mum. 

Mona would often leave school without permission. She was also verbally abusive to her mum and almost every other day Mona would resort to physical violence - the most serious attack led to a stay in hospital for treatment.

Mona’s mum was willing to try anything, so when the family was referred to our 20-week Multisystemic Therapy (MST) programme in London, she was engaged from the start.

"It felt like Mona was out of control and there was nothing I could do"

Mona's mum before working with Action for Children,

What is Multisystemic Therapy?

MST is an intensive family-and-community-based intervention. It is targeted at children and young people aged 11 to 17 who have serious behavioural problems. Our trained therapists work with young people, their families and carers for several hours a week. This usually takes place in their own homes for 3 - 5 months.

After a few sessions, the therapist realised Mona and her mum had a strained relationship, because Mona didn't feel valued by her mum.  Mona also felt that her mum had very unrealistic expectations for her. With the help of our MST programme and by contributing to the sessions, Mona finally had a platform where she was able to get her mother to listen to her.

Our team put several plans in place with the family, to tackle the identified referral behaviours. By the end of the programme, the changes were vast. These plans included:

  • a safety plan to address Mona’s violent behaviour
  • a de-escalation plan to allow Mona to understand her reactions to situations
  • a plan to improve school attendance

Mona and her mum went from having no form of communication other than through text messages and violent verbal outbursts, to finally being able to have calm conversations. The physical violence disappeared and Mona’s school attendance improved significantly.

"I’m so grateful for the support we received through the programme. Mona even hugged the therapist to thank her for everything."