Programs / At Risk Youth Programs / Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Functional Family Therapy (FFT):

The Functional Family Therapy Program is a high quality intervention program with an average of 12-14 sessions over three-five months.  FFT works primarily with at risk youth and their families.  Youth targeted are those ages between 11-17 years who have been referred for behavioral or emotional problems by the juvenile justice systems, mental health, school or child welfare systems.  

FFT is an evidence-based program recognized by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Program as an effective science-based intervention.  Services are conducted in both clinic and home settings, and can also be provided in schools, child welfare facilities, probation & parole offices and mental health facilities.  Services are provided throughout Miami-Dade County.  Functional Family Therapy is a culturally sensitive, short-term intervention that has demonstrated a 25-60% reduction in recidivism.  Through FFT, the therapist works to build upon protective factors in the family system in order to increase family functioning of all members.

FFT is a strength-based model build on a foundation of acceptance and respect.  At its core is a focus on assessment and intervention to address risk and protect factors within and outside of the family that impact the adolescent and his or her adaptive development. FFT consists of 5 major components:

1) Engagement -Enhancing family members’ perceptions of therapist responsiveness and credibility.

2) Motivation – Creating a positive motivational context by decreasing family hostility, conflict & blame, increasing hope and build balanced alliances with family members.

3) Relational Assessment – Identify patterns of interaction within the family to understand the relational “functions” or interpersonal payoffs for
individual and family members’ behaviors.

4) Behavior Change – To decrease or eliminate referral problems by improving family functioning and individual skill development.

5) Generalization Phase – Extend improvements made during behavior change into multiple areas and plan for future challenges.

Family Intervention Services (FIS):

Family Intervention Services is a program funded by the Miami-Dade Youth & Crime Task Force since 2005.  This Program focuses on at risk youth that have been identified by the Juvenile Services Department (JSD) and Improving Community Control (ICC). FIS is a family focused program for youth diverted from the traditional juvenile justice system.  FFT, the intervention, is a national blue-print empirically supported, family-focused, intervention that incorporates techniques from systems therapy, cognitive therapy, and behavioral therapy.

United Way Program (UW):

Since 2006, Institute for Child & Family Health, Inc. has partnered with the United Way of Miami-Dade County. This Community program’s mission is to focus on “Building community by helping people care for another.”  The UW encourages collaboration with ICFH to generate additional funds that will help meet the health and human service needs of the community.  Youth and families can be referred by any mental health facilities, churches, schools Juvenile Services, self-referral and any other community based organizations in the Miami-Dade County areas.

Miami Beach Success University-Children’s Trust:

Institute for Child & Family Health, Inc.’s Functional Family Therapy Program collaborated with the City of Miami Beach’s Success University since 2013 involving several community’s best human service agencies to ensure youth and families in Miami Beach receive the best care to overcome obstacles in their lives.  The Program targets youth who experience chronic absenteeism, violence/disruptive behaviors, and child maltreatment.  Services include: care coordination, family group conferencing, counseling, employment services, tutoring, community service hours, college advisement, transportation, entitlement review and community based services (housing, legal services, clothing, etc.).  Those families eligible to receive these services must reside or attend local schools in the Miami Beach zip codes:  33139, 33140, 33141, and 33154.

To access information on MB Success University visit the link: