Clinical Model

In a recent multi-year randomized trial, the FFT-G® intervention was found to significantly reduce criminal activity among youth at high risk of joining gangs. It lowered recidivism rates, and was found to be particularly effective in decreasing drug charges, adjudicated delinquent, and property charges. It also has been shown to significantly decrease the number of arrests for both person and felony charges. Because FFT-G keeps youth in the community and has been shown to lower days of confinement, costs for youth are significantly lowered (Gottfredson et al., 2018; Thornberry et al, 2018).


As James Howell at the National Gang Center writes in 2018:
“The success of FFT-G® represents a remarkable achievement in the history of gang programming—especially given that high-risk delinquent offenders on probation were targeted. Its cost–benefit ratio is sure to represent large savings per client—particularly because of the demonstrated reductions in confinement.”
FFT-G® uses focused stakeholder engagement and education around local gang characteristics to match engagement and intervention strategies to the specific characteristics and social ecology of local gang-involved youth.

The primary target of intervention in FFT-G® is the family. Therapists help identify the interactional and functional aspects and attributions of specific behaviors in a family, including extended family in the nearby community, peers – especially those gang involved. This is done with an eye towards more extensive system intervention after the beginning of FFT, for example prenatal counseling for pregnant girlfriend, probation officer monitored contingency management for curfew and drug tests (separate from the FFT-G® therapist), community support groups for parents, especially those not part of the mainstream community, and interventions to address ongoing pressure from neighborhood gang members.


Functional Family Therapy Training – Site Certification

The primary goal of the FFT implementation and certification process is the successful replication of FFT program as well as its long-term viability at individual community sites.

Functional Family Therapy Site Certification is a 3-phase process. For specific training info, contact FFT LLC.


Phase 1—Clinical Training

The initial goal of the first phase of FFT implementation is to impact the service delivery context so that the local FFT program builds a lasting infrastructure that supports clinicians to take maximum advantage of FFT training/consultation. By the end of Phase I, FFT’s objective is for local clinicians to demonstrate strong adherence and high competence in the FFT model. Assessment of adherence and competence is based on data gathered through the FFT Clinical Service System, through FFT weekly consultations and during phase one FFT training activities. It is expected that Phase One be completed in one year, and not last longer than 18 months. Periodically during Phase I, FFT personnel provide the site feedback to identify progress toward Phase I implementation goals. By the eighth month of implementation, FFT will begin discussions identify steps toward starting Phase 2 of the Site Certification process.


Phase II—Supervision Training

The goal of the second phase of FFT implementation is to assist the site in creating greater self-sufficiency in FFT, while also maintain and enhancing site adherence/competence in the FFT model. Primary in this phase is developing competent on-site FFT supervision. During Phase II, FFT trains a site’s extern to become the on-site supervisor. This person attends two 2-day supervisor trainings, and then is supported by FFT through monthly phone consultation. FFT provides one 1-day on- site training or regional training during Phase II. In addition, FFT provides any on-going consultation as necessary and reviews the site’s FFT CSS database to measure site/therapist adherence, service delivery trends, and outcomes. Phase II is a yearlong process.


Phase III and beyond—Maintenance

The goal of the third phase of FFT implementation is to move into a partnering relationship to assure on-going model fidelity, as well as impacting issues of staff development, interagency linking, and program expansion. FFT reviews the CSS database for site/therapist adherence, service delivery trends, and client outcomes and provides a one-day on-site training for continuing education in FFT.