Functional Family Probation (FFP®) 

Functional Family Probation (FFP®) was developed by Functional Family Therapy, LLC. in Washington state. It is an integrative supervision and case management model used in engaging, motivating, assessing, and working successfully with high risk youth and families. FFP® is family focused, based on respect and consideration for differences, encourages engagement through alliance, and is guided by empirical research evidence.  

FFP® helped DCJ shift the focus of our juvenile justice workers. Their roles are clarified for youth and families and everyone works together to understand the distinct phases of case management. By applying the right goals, skills, and activities at the right times, the model creates consistency. This helps workers, youth, and families stay on track in situations that are often complicated and dynamic.

FFP®’s first step targets intervention with both the youth and their natural supports. By applying research on how to engage resistant youth and families, workers:

  • Identify challenges and strengths critical to change throughout the family system
  • Help everyone involved find solutions and see that change is possible

Youth and families are encouraged to participate in the process. Workers help identify interventions that will be most effective and supported for the situation and needs. 

FFP® encourages an organizational focus on sustainable, durable change that will continue beyond a case’s closure with DCJ. FFP®-trained staff are stronger advocates of effective services for their clients. They play a more effective role in the assessment, referral, monitoring, and maintenance of positive change brought about by effective programs and interventions.

DCJ's Implementation of FFP® 

The shift in practice at DCJ began in 2011. Juvenile Court Counselors (JCCs) have worked diligently to implement FFP®, transforming how high risk youth are handled in the justice system. JCCs now meet with the entire family, instead of just the youth. They work hard to uncover hopes and strengths of a family to build upon, and use highly developed skills and expertise to create motivation and alliances with the family. Finally, JCCs strive to create credibility with each member of the family, avoiding picking sides or exercising authority over family members or youth.

Research and Publications about FFP®

Bringing Functional Family Probation services to the community: A qualitative case study

Washington State Institute for Public Policy report on Functional Family Therapy (Probation) model

Effects of Functional Family Parole on re-arrest and employment for youth in Washington state

The effectiveness of Functional Family Therapy for youth with behavioral problems in a community practice setting 

FFT evidence studies implementation

An important social experiment failed: What would success have looked like? Huffington Post