Dr. Katarzyna Celinska recently shared her article with the TCOM team entitled “Effectiveness of Functional Family Therapy for Mandated Versus Non-Mandated Youth.”[1] This article was originally published in the Juvenile and Family Court Journal and provides an overview of her extensive study comparing outcomes of youth mandated to participate in therapy versus those whose participation was voluntary. Using the CANS, she studies changes across all core domains of youth in Functional Family Therapy (FFT).

See below for an excerpt of Dr. Celinska’s article



Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a short-term intervention for delinquents, status offenders as well as youth at-risk for delinquency along with their parents or guardians. Research presented in this article is a part of a larger quasi-experimental study conducted by this author between 2005 and 2013 with youth and their parents residing in the Middlesex County, New Jersey. The families participated in FFT as implemented by the Children at Risk Resources and Interventions—Youth Intensive Intervention Program (CARRI-YIIP) at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (UMDNJ), which has since merged with Rutgers University.

Research suggests that the most effective delinquency prevention interventions address skill building, counseling and/or provide multiple coordinated services. Many scholars indicate that family therapy and family counseling are among the most effective and successful interventions with FFT as one of the leading examples (Lipsey, Howell, Kelley, Chapman, & Carver, 2010; Lipsey, 2009).

This study compares the therapeutic outcomes of youth and their parents who were mandated versus those who were not mandated to participate in FFT. The sample is diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity. The outcome variables are scales obtained from the Strengths and Needs Assessment (SNA), a clinical and research tool completed by the therapists before (SNA initial) and after (SNA discharge) intervention.

The results of this study will contribute to our knowledge on FFT and to the literature on interventions designed to reduce delinquency and other risk behaviors. The findings will shed light on how mandating services impacts the outcomes while control-ling for observable differences between mandated and non-mandated youth. No other study on FFT has addressed the effects of voluntary versus non-voluntary participation. In fact, no published studies compare outcomes for mandated versus non-mandated youth in any other family therapy or intervention either. The findings of this research will suggest policy implications for the Family Court and the juvenile justice practice.


To View the full text, click here.

Katarzyna Celinska, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, New York. Her research interests include evaluation of violence prevention programs and women’s incarceration. Her research was published in the Prison Journal, Journal of Juvenile Justice and Journal of Family Therapy. She is currently writing a book on criminological theory, criminal justice policies and practice in corrections. She teaches various courses including Women and Crime, Major Works in Criminal Justice and Policy Analysis.

Contact Dr. Celinska by adding a comment below or at


[1] Celinska, K. (2015). Effectiveness of Functional Family Therapy for Mandated Versus Non-Mandated Youth. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 66(4), 17-27. doi:10.1111/jfcj.12049


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