Behavioral and Emotional Support and Training 2.0 (Anne Arundel FY18 and beyond) Annual

Program Summary

BEST 2.0 is an early childhood intervention program with a home visiting, two-generation component. The program targets the Judy Centers at Hilltop Elementary School (North County) and Belle Grove Judy Center (Brooklyn Park) where many young, homeless parents present. In addition, the program operates parenting groups at the Ordnance Road detention center for both male and female inmates with children, leads  play groups around behaviors for parents and children enrolled at the Judy Centers, and connects with Open Book, a child and parent visiting program for early literacy at Ordinance Road Jail.

Target Population

Families with small children (birth to five) particularly those exhibiting problem behaviors or who have been impacted by incarceration. In addition, the program serves disconnected youth and homeless youth who are young parents. 

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Story Behind the Curve
  • Unique approach working with both incarcerated parents and children and family members in the community
  • Community College gives structure and integrity to program 
  • Certificate program is a unique and meaningful component for parents
  • Strong relationships with other partners serving children and families impacted by incarceration

In addition, we want to note that this program is so meaningful and successful that it has literally changed the course of the lives of multiple parents (and their children) that have participated. For example:

  • A single mom served in the program (her children's father was incarcerated) was homeless when they met her in 2017 through the Judy Center.  By participating in the BEST program and achieving her certificate she came to realize that she was smarter and more capable than she had given herself credit for. By the time she completed the entire program and recieved her certificate, she had found a job, moved into her own apartment and found support to help go back to school. She specifically noted that the support and empowerment of completing the AACC BEST 2.0 certificate gave her the courage and initiative she needed to address her situation and move forward, and that it helped both she and her boys become happier and deal better with their circumstances.
  • An inmate at Ordnance Road detention center was released before the end of his parent education class.  Because he felt that the program was so helpful to him, and such a benefit to his children, he took the initiative  to call the BEST Behavioral Specialist after his release to make an appointment and come into the Arundel Mills Campus of AACC to figure out how to finish the requirements for the parenting class. They helped him create a plan and he successfully completed the program, and received his CEU’s and a letter of completion. He was also able to use these things to help demonstrate to his new employer that he was determined and committed and worth taking a risk on.

There are so many more stories like this from this program! But the bottom line is that it has a tremendous impact, helps these parents build better relationships with their children, helps their children learn better ways to cope with the stress and trauma of having an incarcerated parent, and actually helps ameliorate some of the negative impacts while encouraging parents to attempt things that could improve their family's situation in ways they'd never have previously considered doing. To call it powerful is an understatement!

Partners
  • The Partnership's Systems of Care initiative (including EC CRICT team)
  • Kinship Care program
  • DSS
  • Two north county Judy Centers
  • A.A. County Department of Corrections
  • Staff at Ordnance Road Detention Center
  • Open Book early literacy program for incarcerated parents with children
  • Centro de Ayuda (Center of Help for hispanic and latino families)
  • Chrysalis House (recovery house for mothers with children)
  • Local churches
  • Anne Arundel County Public Libraries
  • A.A. Co. Public Schools - Infants & Toddlers and Child Find programs

 

What Works
  • Use of Parents as Teachers curriculum augmented with other early childhood interventions and trauma-informed approaches has proved a potent combination
  • Working with both the incarcerated parents and the children in the community has yielded great results
  • Creating a certificate program to recognize the dedication of the parents who complete significant training is a great incentive, and the rigor imposed by the college to meet the criteria for the certificate ensures a strong, sound, and structured approach to the work
  • Giving parents tools to manage their frustration and work more productively and supportively with their children has been as important as the work done with the children themselves to help them identify their own emotions and then process and express them in a healthy way - a great two-pronged approach!

 

Action Plan

No action items at this time as the program is operating well and achieving strong outcomes.

Data Discussion

Data is collected through AACC's database and enrollment system. LADDERS assessment is used to measure progress.

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