The Kansas Department of Corrections recently adopted Functional Family Therapy as a statewide program.

After one year of success in southeast Kansas, the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) has decided to adopt Functional Family Therapy (FFT) as a statewide program.

FFT has been offered in multiple states for more than 40 years. This program is intended to improve the way the state addresses juvenile offenders by offering an alternative to removing youth from their homes. 

“This data-driven combination of therapy and supervision for juvenile offenders is about to reshape the way Kansas addresses crime committed by youth statewide,” deputy secretary of the KDOC, Terri Williams, said in a press release. “Extending this innovative approach statewide will further advance the state’s goal to keep juveniles in their homes by using alternatives to sentencing.”

The program offers therapy and supervision of youth while in the comfort of their own home. In southeast Kansas, there were 89 youthful offenders participating in FFT. Out of those 89 offenders, only three were placed in confinement during treatment. This is a major improvement compared to the year prior when more than 50 percent of youths were discharged from their current juvenile program and placed in an out-of-home setting.

“What this means is that youth who are supervised by the FFT program in southeast Kansas are responding better to treatment, not committing additional crimes, maintaining their bonds to family, and costing the state less by staying out of more restrictive settings,” Williams noted in the press release.

The program offers many benefits for at-risk youth as well as their family and community.

“By giving families help to develop a supportive and structured environment, FFT has proven it saves families, while at the same time preventing crime and victimization in communities, not to mention reducing the cost to the public,” Williams stated. “State by state, FFT has proven over decades to reduce recidivism among youthful offenders – by 25 to 60 percent in some cases.”

FFT will soon be offered through Emberhope in Garden City. 

“Based on the results we’ve seen in Southeast Kansas, I can’t wait to meet with leaders from across the state to discuss the positive impact FFT will make in their communities,” Williams stated in the press release.

The KDOC plans to hold a kickoff event in Garden City in celebration of the new program. Arrangements for the event have not been made yet.