Family and Children’s Services (FCS) has partnered with the Howard County Office of the Local Children’s Board to launch the Building Youth Resiliency program, an initiative aimed at identifying disconnected youth and children of incarcerated parents whose physical and mental wellbeing are at-risk. The program seeks to intervene in these cases and match this vulnerable population with basic yet critical resources in areas such as healthcare, shelter, employment, and education.
According to Measures of America and the American Community Survey, 6.9% of Howard County’s population age 16-24 — more than 2,400 youths — are considered disconnected.
“There are disconnected young people throughout our communities in Howard County with inadequate basic resources, education, and skills, or a plan for the future,” said Heather Sherbert, FCS Director of Case Management Services. “They can easily fall prey to drug use, criminal behavior, gang involvement, homelessness, and prostitution. They can become victims of violence and exposed to injury and disease.”
Youth who find themselves aging out of the child welfare system, or who are re-entering the community from the juvenile justice system, are often caught in a limbo between navigating the protections of childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood.
These youth become disconnected and are often managing without the supports needed to stabilize as they attempt to sustain themselves in the community. The effects on disconnected youth and their young adult development are profound when considering health, education, and employment. Disconnected youth are particularly prone to depression, suicide, and other mental health disorders. Disconnected adolescents also have high rates of substance abuse disorders.
“We specifically want to serve disconnected youth as well as young people who have been impacted by the incarceration of their parent or guardian,” said Kim Eisenreich, Administrator of the Office of the Local Children’s Board. “This pilot program, and specifically, this partnership with FCS, will offer wraparound services to this population with the goal of improving the wellbeing of our young people, shaping healthy families, and strengthening our community as a whole.”
FCS’s multi-disciplinary care team, which includes case managers, licensed clinicians, and a psychiatrist (when necessary), will develop a personalized care plan that places each individual on a path to thrive.
“Our team is positioned to provide advocacy and outreach,” Sherbert said. “This collaboration will allow FCS to meet clients and families where established relationships already exist and allow clients a safe space to development new relationships that help achieve stability.”
For more information on the Building Youth Resiliency program, contact FCS Case Manager Amanda Khammang at 443-864-0379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Family and Children’s Services
Family and Children’s Services is a non-profit human services organization based in Baltimore for more than 165 years. The agency provides a broad range of free and low-fee support services to people of all ages through its core of behavioral health services and case management programs. With ten locations in Baltimore and the surrounding counties, FCS serves thousands of individuals and families every year dealing with the challenges sustained in areas such as trauma, domestic violence, mental health issues, raising families, and caregiving. For more information and a complete list of FCS services and programs, visitfcsmd.org. Follow FCS on Facebook at facebook.com/fcsmd/.
About the Local Children’s Board
The Local Children’s Board (LCB) within the Department of Community Resources and Services, was established in 1996 as a neutral convener that facilitates interagency collaboration, youth empowerment and community engagement to create a shared vision for children, youth and families in Howard County.