Partnering for Success
Cohort 1 Implementation Sites Descriptions

Site 4: Maryland


Experience with Evidence-Based Practices

For many years Baltimore County DSS has prioritized youth coming to the attention of the child welfare system as a result of severe externalizing behavior reported by caregivers to be endangering towards self and others.These youth are more likely to require group care and to experience longer lengths of stay. We've partnered with our Local Management Board, the Core Service Agency, and community providers to implement evidence-based practices that specifically address externalizing behaviors. These have included Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), and Brief Strategic Family Therapy. Specific Functional Family Therapists have been embedded with our child welfare staff, a successful strategy for maximizing utilization and collaboration. In addition, Baltimore County residents are eligible for Launching Individual Futures Together, a wrap-around intervention for youth 13-17 with co-occurring disorders (substance abuse and mental illness) and also for another wrap around intervention delivered by Maryland CHOICES. These efforts have met with some success, with the number of youth entering with 'behavior' as a factor decreasing from a high of 65 in FY10 to 50 in FY15,a 23% reduction.

In late 2014, we were selected by the National Center for Evidence-Based Practices in Child Welfare to pilot Partnering for Success, a model for improving mental health outcomes  for children involved in the child welfare system. Partnering for Success includes cross-systems learning by building effective working relationships between  child welfare professionals and mental health clinicians, strengthens assessments, and expands access to and delivery with  fidelity of the evidence-based practice- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Plus (CBT+). CBT+ is an integrated model of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy designed to address those issues most commonly presented by children In the child welfare system- behavior, anxiety, trauma, and depression.  

Through Partnering for Success, our child welfare  staff learned more about the impact of trauma,using standardized assessments to identify trauma and other common  treatment targets, how to more effectively refer children for appropriate services,and how to effectively monitor treatment. Baltimore County staff incorporated the PSC-17 as an assessment tool to guide the social workers and families in decision making regarding mental health needs of children and youth.  

Baltimore County’s initial success with Partnering for Success led  us to apply for a Title IV-E Waiver with the state to expand the cross-systems collaboration.  An implementation team of leaders from the public child welfare  agency and the participating private mental health providers guides the work of workforce. Partners include: Advanced Behavioral Health, Catholic Charities, Villa Maria Behavioral Health Clinics, and THRIVE Behavioral Health.  To date, over 175 DSS staff and providers have participated in the Partnering for Success learning collaboratives.

The work of all partners will be featured in an upcoming Child Welfare Information Gateway Podcast featuring Angela Jachelski, with the NCEBPCW, Suzie Templeton with Villa Maria and Jane Gehring with Baltimore County DSS.

Implementation Team Co-Chairs for Baltimore County are:

Judith Schagrin, LCSW-C
Assistant Director for Children's Services
Baltimore County Department of Social Services

Carl Fornoff, LCPC
Assistant Director
Villa Maria Community Resources