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New program to combat juvenile delinquency unveiled by Tanager Place



Cedar Rapids, Iowa – There are many different ways that adolescent delinquency can manifest itself, ranging from substance misuse to absenteeism.

However, delinquency in all its manifestations can hurt children as well as their families, friends, and communities.

Tanager Place is introducing a new Multisystemic Therapy (MST) system to address the underlying cause of the problem.

“We’re going to be providing interventions in place in multiple systems. Not just the youth who get referred, but also working with their families, working with the school system, working with the community, working with peers. We believe it takes a real, systemic, ecological approach to get great outcomes for families.” Said Sedgrid Lewis an MST Program Developer.

The program, which begins next month, will provide 12 to 17-year-olds with intense outpatient therapy for four to six months if they have a history of juvenile justice involvement or are struggling with issues like aggressiveness, substance abuse, or truancy.

Cedar Rapids needs a program like this, according to Maggie Hartzler, director of Tanager Place Clinical Services.

“A lot of kids that were falling through the cracks are kids that are involved in the juvenile justice system, and, you know, once-a-week therapy for those kids isn’t necessarily enough to support the need.” said Tanager Place Clinical Services Director Maggie Hartzler.

Experts, however, assert that the benefits extend beyond the children.
Lewis claims that if there are fewer kids in the juvenile court system, Cedar Rapids’ economy may also expand.

“Now, when developers look at Cedar Rapids, they see that like, okay, there’s not a large juvenile crime issue, there’s not an issue of kids being truant. Because, you know, people that go to school become great workers, so that means they’ve got a working, good base to recruit for staff, then that makes them bring their businesses here. ” said Lewis.

However, MST and Tanager Place assert that those are merely advantageous byproducts of the program, and that helping the children and families in greatest need is and always will be their primary priority.

“One of the best parts of this program is that you can see tangible growth and tangible change.” said Hartzler.

After staff members have finished their MST training, the program will formally begin the following month, although Tanager Place is now taking recommendations from interested families.