Montgomery County Results for Child Well-Being

This scorecard tracks the county-level results and indicators for Montgomery County.

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Why Is This Important?
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  • Alcohol and drug use by teens is particularly harmful to their healthy development and overall safety.Alcohol remains the drug of greatest use among youth followed by marijuana, tobacco and prescription drugs.In Montgomery County specifically, alcohol is also the most commonly abused substance, followed by tobacco products and cigarettes, marijuana, prescription drugs, and other illicit drugs.
  • 28.9% of high school students reported alcohol use in the past 30 days and Montgomery County students reported slightly higher drinking rates higher than youth in other local jurisdictions. Alcohol use can lead to a range of negative impacts on youth including alcohol poisoning, physical and sexual assault, injuries, suicide, and risky behaviors
  • Community concerns are growing around the use of marijuana and prescription drugs among teens, and at the same time, a lack of adequate parental awareness persists around use.
  • 18.8% of high school students in Montgomery County reported engaging in marijuana use within the 30 days prior; teens are beginning to underestimate the dangers associated with marijuana use
  • 8.6% of high school students reported using prescription drugs in the past 30 days; the CDC found that prescription drug abuse is one of fastest growing health problems in the United States

Contributory factors include:

  • Families lack knowledge and effective parenting skills to guide their adolescent youth in developing appropriate pro-social behaviors and communicating with each other to avoid youth using drugs.
  • Youth need access to healthful alternatives to using drugs and associating with substance abusing peers that can be found in after school programs.
  • After school programs need knowledge and skills to educate youth on the problems of substance abuse, to help youth develop healthy alternative leisure-time options and to refer youth who may be experimenting to appropriate early intervention services.
Strategies to improve these indicators

Youth Services Bureaus (YSB)

Many Voices, Smart Choices

Why Is This Important?

Children who are healthy, physically and mentally, are more able to play, learn and be successful.

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Story Behind the Curve

375 per 100,000 children in Montgomery County were referred to DJS for a felony offense in FY2015. This rate has been decreasing over time.

Contributory factors include:

  • A high juvenile offense rate indicates problems in a community, both now and in the future.Serious crimes exposes youth to a dangerous lifestyle, increasing the likelihood of later engagement in violent crimes.Youth who continue criminal behavior may not develop into emotionally stable and productive individuals—which could negatively impact the long-term safety, well-being and stability of the whole community.
  • Five priority risk factors for adolescent problem behaviors include: family management problems and family conflict, early academic failure, early initiation of problem behaviors, early and persistent disruptive and delinquent behavior, and extreme economic deprivation
Strategies to improve these indicators

Youth Services Bureau (YSB)

Fair and Equal Justice (DMC) Committee

Why Is This Important?

In safe environments, children thrive, learn dream and explore. However, if children live in unsafe environments and it is left unaddressed, it will create community issues that only serve to undermine the system’s ability to offer its children every opportunity for success.

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Data Discussion
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  • The percent of Montgomery County students who scored proficient or above in reading fell to 86 and 75 percent scored proficient or above in mathematics on the Maryland School Assessment in the 2013-14 school year.
  • Hispanic and African American students, low-income students, students with limited English proficiency and special education students all have gaps in achievement when compared to their counterparts. Local efforts in elementary schools are showing positive results, but achievement concerns remain at middle and high school levels. Research has identified a variety of factors that appear related to the achievement gap including students' racial and/or economic background; their parents' education level; and their access to high-quality preschool instruction, peer influences, teachers' expectations, and curricular and instructional quality.
  • In the 2013-14 school year, 8.5 percent or over 11,000 students were absent more than 20 days during the school year. Locally, the attendance rate declines and the truancy rate increases, as children get older. The truancy rate is higher among Hispanic students (10%), students receiving free and reduced priced meals (11.4 %) and students in special education (14.5%).
  • Youth can benefit from additional time or different settings and approaches to reinforce or enhance school-time learning.
  • Increased attention to social emotional and physical domains can increase engagement in learning and enhance in-school performance.
  • Children/youth without parents at home during afternoon or early evening hours need locations and support to complete school assignments.
  • Recent literature suggests that the achievement gap among African American and Hispanic students will not be closed by focusing solely on school factors, but complementary investments in after school and summer programs along with other social and economic supports are necessary. Many studies conducted over the past two decades point to the links between increased after school program participation and educational success, including greater engagement in learning and higher academic performance.
  • Research also indicates that truancy is both a cause and a consequence of many troubling behaviors, including dropping out of high school, high school expulsion, substance use, juvenile delinquency, weapon related violence, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and becoming sexually active at a young age.
Strategies to improve these indicators

Excel Beyond the Bell (EBB)

ACE Academy (21st Community Learning Center)


Why Is This Important?

High expectations for academic achievement for all students, combined with skilled teachers, sound curriculum, adequate instructional materials, and family involvement, are essential for student learning.

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Strategies to improve these indicators

Youth Development Community of Practice (CoP)

Why Is This Important?

School success includes preparation for life after high school. Partnerships between schools, businesses, higher education institutions, social service agencies and after-school programs can ensure that teens transition to young adulthood successfully.

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  • 4.2 per 1,000 children in Montgomery County entered out-of-home care in FY2014
  • Nearly 38,000 children in Montgomery County were food insecure in 2013. The rate has been steady over the last three years.Nearly half are likely eligible for federal nutrition assistance.

Contributory factors include:

  • Often the only way for families and child serving agencies to obtain needed services is to place a child in a restrictive environment.Research tells us such environments are less beneficial to the positive development of all children and youth.The agencies in the child-serving system are sometimes unable to transfer resources to least restrictive level of care and community-based services because of their own rules and regulations.
  • Many of the children with intensive needs are receiving multiple services from multiple agencies, and care coordination is complex and difficult to manage when there are several case managers and funding requirements.Both parents and providers find it challenging to optimally care for children in this environment.Having interagency care coordination and case management services can ensure that parents can access the right mix of services and resources.
Strategies to improve these indicators

Pathway to Services

Why Is This Important?

A home environment with nurturing adults who love, care for and protect their children is a cornerstone of healthy child development.Children with special challenges—physical, emotional or developmental—have a substantially better likelihood of achieving their potential if raised in their family homes, or in their home communities, rather than in distant residential facilities.

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