Family Centered Treatment (FCT©)

Family-Centered Treatment is a home-based therapy model designed to find simple, practical, and common-sense solutions for families faced with disruption or dissolution of their family.


This can be due to external and/or internal stressors, circumstances, or forced removal of their children from the home due to the youth’s undesirable behavior or parent’s harmful behaviors. A foundational belief influencing the development of FCT is that the recipients of service are great people with tremendous internal strengths and resources. This core value is demonstrated via the use of individual family goals that are developed from strengths as opposed to deficits. Obtaining highly successful engagement rates is a primary goal of FCT. The program is provided with families of special populations of all ages involved with agencies that specialize in child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, and crossover youth. Critical components of FCT are derivatives of Eco-Structural Family Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy which were enhanced with components added based on experience with clients.

Program Goals

The goals of Family Centered Treatment (FCT) are:

  • Enable family stability via preservation of or development of a family placement

  • Enable the necessary changes in the critical areas of family functioning that are the underlying causes for the risk of family dissolution

  • Bring a reduction in hurtful and harmful behaviors affecting family functioning

  • Develop an emotional and functioning balance in the family so that the family system can cope effectively with any individual member’s intrinsic or unresolvable challenges

  • Enable changes in referred client behavior to include family system involvement so that changes are not dependent upon the therapist

  • Enable discovery and effective use of the intrinsic strengths necessary for sustaining the changes made and enabling stability


Essential Components

Services Involve Family/Support Structures

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: All phases of FCT involve the family intensively in treatment. The required phase-specific activities occur with the family and the documents produced from the activities require the family system to be involved. FCT is a family system model of home-based treatment and while the referred client is integral to the treatment process, the intensity of treatment can and does occur with other members when their behaviors or roles are critical to the progress of the referred family member (client). In addition, during the assessment phase, family members define their family unit. The entire family unit then is the focus of treatment. Other support systems are critical to the success of FCT and are, at minimum, informed and kept abreast of treatment progress, and can be integrally involved per the family’s expressed need.

How does it work?

  • With the whole family as defined by the family

  • Meet in their home at days of the week and times of day that are convenient for the family.

  • Session schedules get the clinician involved during the most troublesome and difficult times and as they occur.

  • Provides 24/7 on-call crisis support for the family with their known clinical staff. (not a universal on-call system)

  • Provides opportunities for the family to practice functioning differently. These weekly “enactments” are integral to the process. (not just talk therapy)

  • A minimum of 2 multiple-hour sessions per week excluding the ramping up period (1st month) and the slowing down period (last month of treatment). Lengthier and more frequent sessions are available based on assessed need. On-call support is available 24 hours a day every day of the year.

  • While the length of treatment is driven by family need and progress, the average length of treatment is 6 months.


Who qualifies for FCT services at SouthLight?

SouthLight provides Family Centered Treatment (FCT©) in Wake and Durham counties at this time. The child (3 to 20 years old) in the family must have Medicaid. SouthLight has two Spanish-speaking FCT clinicians and a diverse team of licensed professionals who genuinely care about the families that come under our care.


As just a few examples of past FCT clients, our SouthLight FCT team has worked with families experiencing legal charges, substance use, alcohol use, mental health concerns, trauma, domestic violence in the home, loss of a family member, recent suspensions from school, psychiatric hospitalizations, jail time, autism spectrum disorder that interferes with the child’s quality of life, aggressive behavior, oppositional defiance, unemployment, homelessness, and/or an unstable home environment, etc.


For more information about FCT at SouthLight, please contact:

Family Center Treatment Supervisor

Phone Number: 919-592-1694

Electronic Fax: 1-888-233-0586



If you are a practitioner and would like to make a referral to the FCT program at SouthLight, then an FCT referral form is available here.


More information about FCT is available at the Family Centered Treatment Foundation website:

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