BSFT™ Program at Crosswinds Youth Services Awarded Prestigious SAMHSA Award
For over 30 years, Crosswinds Youth Services (Cocoa, FL) has been dedicated to helping vulnerable youth and their families. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recently selected 28 organizations across the USA to receive their 2010 Science and Service Awards. These awards recognize exemplary implementation of evidence-based interventions that have been shown to prevent and/or treat mental illnesses and substance abuse. Crosswinds was one of six agencies nationwide bestowed the award for “treatment of substance abuse and recovery support services,” based on their implementation of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT™) model.
Their BSFT™ Program began accepting clients in December, 2007. Focused on adolescent populations, the BSFT™ Program was developed at the Center for Family Studies, University of Miami. Crosswinds chose the structured, problem-focused, directive, and practical approach based on its effectiveness in changing the family system itself in order to reduce the risk factors that contribute to substance abuse, violence, and other juvenile crime.
Over three years, the Crosswinds BSFT™ team has worked with 172 BSFT™ clients and 73% have been closed successfully. Cases were referred from the Brevard County Department of Probation, Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Circuit 18. The DJJ Benchmark for successful program completion is 70%. For a case to be classified as successful, the client’s record is reviewed to ensure that no new charges have been filed, and a drug screen is administered to determine whether the substance using behaviors have ceased, or have been reduced. All successful cases are then reviewed at six months and one year intervals to determine if new charges were filed, or if there has been a violation of probation. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year 77.6% of all clients discharged were discharged successfully.
The team’s preparation and presentations resulted in Crosswinds’ selection, placing them in the company of fellow 2010 winner University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and 2009 winner Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon learning Crosswinds had been given the SAMHSA award, Dr. Muir exclaimed, “the Crosswinds BSFT™ team are winners because they are blazing the trail to show how prevention and treatment of substance abuse can be implemented!” Crosswinds BSFT™ Program Director Denny shared, “we knew we had a great program in place, and are very happy to receive this national recognition.”
Recognizing their exemplary program implementation, BSFT™ Institute Senior Trainer Monica Zarate encouraged Crosswinds BSFT™ Program Director Stephen “Kris” Denny to apply for this prestigious award. They teamed with BSFT™ Institute Associate Director Joan Muir, Ph.D. and Crosswinds C.O.O. Karen Locke to prepare for the rigorous SAMHSA site visit in September 2010. Joining them was Rick Morris, with Evidence-Based Associates, which manages the Florida Redirections Program BSFT™ contract and Dan Rodgers, Chief Probation Officer with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Circuit 18. In 2004, the State of Florida DJJ contracted with Evidence-Based Associates to launch the Redirection project in an effort to "redirect" troubled youth from residential placements to more effective, family-focused, evidence-based treatment options, such as the BSFT™ program.