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FFT LLC is committed to the highest standards of training, consultation, and service. FFT LLC trains and certifies groups of three to eight therapists in a wide variety of settings. We ask potential Functional Family Therapy-Gang (FFT-G) providers/sites to begin by reviewing the materials on this page and contacting us to complete the application for site certification. A conference call will then be arranged with representatives of the site and FFT LLC to answer questions, identify challenges and think through the next steps. Once both parties concur the site is ready to proceed, the initial phase of FFT-G training will be scheduled.

Functional family therapy gangs training

Phases of FFT-G Training

 Through a mutual commitment to the training process and to developing adherence and competence in the FFT-G model, our phasic implementation process has proven highly successful in community replication of our family therapy model. Phases of the FFT-G training and certification process include:

The initial goal of FFT-G implementation is to ensure that the site builds a lasting infrastructure that supports therapists to take maximum advantage of FFT-G training/consultation. Extensive work is done upfront to build working relationships with key community stakeholders from various systems that work with gang-involved youth. During this phase, therapists are trained in the core constructs and interventions, and how to use the FFT-Clinical Services System (CSS) to gather data. It is expected that Phase 1 be completed in one year, but not any longer than 18 months. By the end of Phase 1, FFT’s objective is for therapists to demonstrate strong adherence and high competence in the FFT-G model.

The goal of the second phase of FFT-G implementation is to assist the site in creating greater self-sufficiency in FFT-G, while also maintaining and enhancing site adherence/competence in the model. During this phase, FFT trains a site’s extern to become the onsite supervisor. This intensive, hands-on, training experience focuses on clinical supervision techniques for FFT-G. After initial training, the onsite supervisor is then supported by FFT via monthly phone consultations and a one-day follow-up training. In addition, FFT provides any ongoing consultation as necessary and reviews the site’s FFT Clinical Services System (CSS) database to measure site/therapist adherence, service delivery trends, and outcomes. Phase II is a year-long process.

The goal of the third phase of FFT-G implementation is to move into a partnering relationship to ensure ongoing model fidelity and staff development, interagency linking, and program expansion. FFT provides annual training activities and consultation services to support the site’s continuous education and competence in FFT-G. The annual oversight and consultation practices are considered necessary for an FFT-G site to remain certified.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between FFT and FFT-G?

FFT-G shares the same intervention focus and activities as FFT. However, given the higher intensity of the risk factors and behaviors that are present with gang-involved youth and their families, extensive work is devoted to developing and sustaining working relationships with community stakeholders to ensure that there is a coordinated and coherent approach to work with these youth and their families. This plan includes safety considerations as well as a focus on working to ensure that youth remain in the community. Developing such systems-level relationships is not unique to FFT-G. All FFT programs do this as a routine aspect of practice. What is unique in FFT-G work is the focus on engaging stakeholders with key knowledge and experience with the local community and gangs.

What are the qualifications for an FFT-G clinician?

Master’s level is preferred, including clinician’s being supervised by a licensed supervisor. Experience working with delinquent youth is preferred.

What is a typical FFT- G caseload?

FFT-G should be implemented with a team of 3-8 master's level therapists, with full-time caseloads based on the level of risk and needs within a gang-involved target population. This typically is approximately 8 youth/families. The site supervisor is also required to carry a caseload. Site supervisors may reduce their caseloads to meet the requirements of the position; however, this caseload must be a minimum of five active cases at all times.

How many therapists can one onsite supervisor support?

One FFT-G site supervisor can support up to a team of eight.

How close to the families (in geographic terms) must the FFT-G therapist be?

Since the risk in the early stages of treatment with families is dropout, FFT-G therapists meet with families based on risk factors and family needs. Distance should not be a reason why a therapist doesn’t meet with a family. Thus, a site must consider whether the geography a therapist covers will allow them to still be responsive to families, particularly in early sessions. If not, dropout will increase and outcomes will diminish.

Is it safe to work with gang-involved youth?

FFT has safely worked with gang-involved youth in many contexts around the world. This has also been the case with FFT-G. Safety is a joint effort. It is recommended that all agencies have safety protocols in place for doing work in the community/home. As part of the implementation process, FFT works closely with teams to ensure that stakeholders from other systems are also involved in safety planning.

How accessible do FFT-G therapists need to be after-hours?

For extenuating clinical issues or those situations that impact agency policy and procedure, FFT would expect that the agency has a designated supervisor or other processes to address after-hours issues. Many agencies are required to provide after-hours crisis service. However, it is not a requirement of the model to offer 24/7 access to the FFT-G therapist.

How often do FFT-G therapists meet (via phone conference) with an FFT-G national consultant?

The FFT-G national consultant will talk to the therapists weekly via phone. This call typically occurs at the same time each week. Consultation includes general topics, such as issues around documentation or caseloads, and moves into being more clinical, utilizing the FFT model of supervision and staffing of cases. The weekly call is considered a requirement for site certification, so attendance is mandatory.

Can staff work part-time in FFT-G and part-time in another service/model as long as they are adherent to FFT-G in their capacity as an FFT-G therapist?

Given the high-risk nature of the target population and work within the community with stakeholders, priority should be given to the FFT-G work the therapist is doing. FFT works with providers through application processes to determine with other non-activities are advisable in a project.

For youth coming out of residential care, can an FFT-G therapist begin working with the family/client in the weeks immediately preceding residential discharge?

FFT-G works in different ways with this population. FFT-G can begin when discharge is imminent and sessions can be held with the identified client and family in the facility or during the youth’s home visit, or FFT-G can occur as a recommended service at discharge. The FFT-G therapist can begin engaging the family and youth prior to discharge and start FFT-G immediately once the youth is home. Different potential re-entry models can be explored directly with FFT-G during the application process.

Is a psychiatrist part of the FFT-G team? Are they ever contracted in?

FFT-G has trained psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and even teachers. Psychiatrists in some states are required to provide medical necessities for a client and will refer to FFT-G if appropriate. It is essential that the psychiatrist in this role understands the structure of the model. Some psychiatrists fulfill an administrative or clinical role while most of the time they are used for consultation with the family around issues such as medication management. Though the costs can be high, in some cases, psychiatrists have been integrated into FFT-G training and case consultation.

Interested in implementing FFT’s evidence-based youth and family interventions?