Project Connect (Carroll County FY19 and Beyond) Annual

Story Behind the Curve

FY 20: Shortly after the start of HFY2, Project Connect lost it's staff person.  Efforts to fill this position were not succcessful, and at the beginning of the 3rd quarter COVID-19 drastically altered the way programs in Carroll County were able to operate.  Without a staff person, and with restrictions on any contact inside the local detention center and all state prison facilities, all vists and communication had to halted.  In addition, the impact of MD's Justice Reinvestment Act continues to be felt in Carroll County. Fewer individuals are being incarated and those who are are soending signficantly less time in jail.  Furthermore, with all MD schools closed, the Handle with Care program that supported referrals to Project Connect has not been operating. For these reasons, Project Connect has closed and wil not be operating in FY 21.  A portion of the remainder of  FY 20 budget  has been re-directed to support COVID relief effort in Carroll County.

Partners

Partners include the E-SMART early childhood mental health system of care, CCPS Handle with Care and the Carroll County Detention Center Pre-Trial Services Unit, and the CCHD re-entry team. 

Action Plan

FY 20:

Action Plans moving forard include serving families with children through age 8, which will allow greater conenctions and referrals from the school system, providing interpretation services and helping families connect to incarcerated parents outside of Carroll County through phone calls and video visits.

Program Summary

Project Connect provides home visiting, case management and resource connections for caregivers and children with an incarcerated family member.  A home visitor with Catholic Chairities Early Head start connects with families who are experiencing incarceration, providing stability, advocacy and support.  Children are enrolled in early educational programming, and families are assessed for needs, from basic resources, to connections to community agencies.  In addition, the program helps to keep connections for children and their incarcerated parents, either through assistance with letter writing and phone calls or through transporation to the Visitation Center, the local Detention Center, or to facilities located outside of Carroll County.  As incarcertaed family members transition back to their communities, Project Connect helps to ensure that the individual and family are connected to needed resources and services, such as mental health treatment and job training.  Project Connect also provides support groups and community activiites for children and caregivers, in order to help ease the stigma of having a loved one incarcerated.

 

Target Population

The target population for Project Connect is families with children under eight who have a family member incarcerated, or being released from incarceration.  The two generation strategy provides support for children, caregivers and incarcerated parents.

Promising Practice/Model/EBP Employed

 

  • Project Connect uses the Project SEEK 7 component model program:
    • Case management
    • Home Visits- 60-90 minutes 
    • Advocacy with the school- working with teachers to understand family dynamics
    • Parent/child communication- facilitating letters, visits and phone calls
    • Support groups- for caregivers and children
    • Parenting education- Circle of Security
    • Financial assistance- through connections to community action agen

To ensure fidelity to the model, Project Connect provides Project SEEK with monthly reports and participates in monthly ZOOM conference calls.

Circle of Secuirty Evidenced-Based Parenting Program

Both Circle of Security-Intensive and COSP have been listed by various evidence-based review listings at the level of Promising Practice

Here are some founding principles that underlie the Circle of Security models of intervention:

1

Attachment problems in infancy and early childhood increase the probability of psychopathology later on in life.

2

Secure attachment relationships with caregivers are a protective factor for infants and preschoolers, setting the foundation for social competence and promoting effective functioning of the emotion regulation and stress response systems.

3

The quality of the attachment relationship is amenable to change.

4

Learning, including therapeutic change, occurs from within a secure base relationship.

5

Lasting change in the attachment relationship comes from caregivers’ developing specific relationship capacities rather than learning techniques to manage behavior.

6

All caregivers want what is best for their children.

 

Local Highlight

The Justice Reinvestment Act of 2016 has begun to have a signficant impact on the population inside the Carroll County Detention Center.  Currently, the daily population flucuates between 130 and 150.  In earlier years, the population was at or above 185 every day.  Incarcerated individuals are spending less time serving sentences, down from the average sentence of nine months, to a low of three to four months.  The Justice Reinvestment Act allows incarcerted individuals to earn many more "good behavior days", shortening the time they spend behind bars.  Additionally, fewer individuals in Carroll are being arrested or booked for minor drug offenses. 
Beginning in FY 20, the Westminster City police are also employing LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) throughout the jurisidiction.  This pilot program allows officers to divert citizens to treatment and resources for mental health and substance use, rather than simply arrestign them and taking them to jail.  Furthermore, Carroll County has a dedicated Mobile Crisis Team and Crisis Response officers throughout the county, dedicated to de-escalating individuals who, in the past, would have been detained due to erratic or unstable behavior. 

Data Discussion

Project Connect  served a lower than anticipated number of children and families in FY 19.  Funding for the program was delayed by several weeks, and then staff underwent significant training in the Project SEEK case management model and also the Circle of Security parenting class program.  Furthermore, serving only children under five has also limited the number of children the program can serve.  

FY 20: Shortly after the start of HFY2, Project Connect lost it's staff person.  Efforts to fill this position were not succcessful, and at the beginning of the 3rd quarter COVID-19 drastically altered the way programs in Carroll County were able to operate.  Without a staff person, and with restrictions on any contact inside the local detention center and all state prison facilities, all vists and communication had to halted.  In addition, the impact of MD's Justice Reinvestment Act continues to be felt in Carroll County. Fewer individuals are being incarated and those who are are soending signficantly less time in jail.  Furthermore, with all MD schools closed, the Handle with Care program that supported referrals to Project Connect has not been operating. For these reasons, Project Connect has closed and wil not be operating in FY 21.  A portion of the remainder of  FY 20 budget  has been re-directed to support COVID relief effort in Carroll County. 

 

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