PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE LEARNING PROGRAM IN MARTINSBURG
Martinsburg, WV – March 16, 2017 – The Board of Child Care (BCC) has launched a brand-new educational program in Berkley County in partnership with three West Virginia state agencies.
Called the Alternative Learning Program (ALP), its goal is to reduce recidivism rates by providing full-day educational and therapeutic services for middle and high school students (males and females). The program is staffed to handle a maximum capacity of 17 students and is expecting to begin services later in March.
Kickoff for the program was held on Thursday, March 16, at BCC’s Martinsburg campus. The event included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between all the partners as well as a roundtable discussion with attendees from various West Virginia state agencies.
This program is a public-private partnership between the Board of Child Care, Division of Juvenile Services (DJS), Berkeley County Schools (BCS), West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), and the Office of Diversion and Transition Program (ODTP).
Signatories of the MOU from each partner (from left to right):
Jason Wright, Director of Community Based Services, DJS
Jacob Green, Special Assistant to the Chief Career and Technical Education Officer at WVDE, Office of Diversion and Transition Programs.
Laurie Anne Spagnola, President & CEO, Board of Child Care
Don Dellinger, Deputy Superintendent, Berkeley County Schools
Other key players:
Charles Hampton, Principal, Board of Child Care Martinsburg School
Jackie Columbia, Director of West Virginia Services, Board of Child Care
The idea for the program is to offer an expanded array of educational and therapeutic services not being delivered in the sixteen current Youth Reporting Centers (YRC) throughout the state of West Virginia. There are several key differences between the two program models.
First, youth in the ALP will attend BCC’s school on the Martinsburg campus (some but not all YRC programs provide educational services directly). The school is already serving the approximately 20 youth living in BCC’s residential program on the property. Its teachers (licensed and provided by WVDE) and its behavior support staff (trained and provided by BCC) are already familiar with the needs of youth who have experienced trauma, incarceration, or who have a mental health diagnosis.
The ALP will use existing staffing and classrooms within the school and will not require additional positions unless the program expands in size. BCC’s residential youth and the ALP day-students will learn together and will not be taught separately.
Secondly, the delivery of mental health services using an outpatient model is enhanced from what is currently available to this youth population. BCC’s licensed, masters-level clinicians will deliver supportive counseling services, individual therapy, and specialty therapy groups to address everything from substance abuse to coping with complex trauma.
Finally, the public-private partnership between the three WV state agencies and BCC will expand the ALP’s target population over what is typically served by a YRC. Referrals to the program are broken up into three segments or populations: probation officers and judges, Berkeley County Schools, and youth who are discharging from a WV residential treatment center.
Probation officers can refer to this program and youth will be ordered into the program by a judge. This serves as an alternative sentence to incarceration, keeps a youth’s community supports and family nearby, and is much cheaper for the state of WV as incarceration is expensive.
Berkeley County Schools will be able to refer youth to the program who have a mental health diagnosis. While these students are eager to learn and succeed they find the large, traditional public school setting difficult and would be better served in a smaller classroom. Again, this keeps the students local but provides them with the additional support they need to succeed.
The third group are youth who were in residential placements in other parts of WV and are being discharged back to homes in the Berkeley County area. Instead of sending them home and back to public school immediately, they will return home and utilize the ALP to get more individualized attention and treatment services before transitioning to public school. The ALP is focused on reducing recidivism rates, and by including a step-down placement in the treatment plan of that youth provides more therapeutic supports around prior to their transition back to public school.
BCC has two program locations in Martinsburg, WV that provide therapeutic residential treatment services to youth from WV. On the larger campus, youth live and go to school on the 20+ acre property. At the Martinsburg group homes youth attend public school during the day.
The Board of Child Care has a long history of serving children and families in the community. The organization began as three United Methodist orphanages that opened in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which later merged in 1960 to become the Board of Child Care. BCC’s operations expanded from Maryland to West Virginia in 2001.
Today, the Board of Child Care’s $27 million annual budget provides programs that enrich communities, one family at a time. It offers residential treatment, mental health, educational, and community-based programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic. To see a map of all program locations and descriptions of each BCC program, visit boardofchildcare.org.
I am writing to share the story of young boy named Ricky that lived at the Board of Child Care (BCC).
I am delighted to share that today, Ricky is off of all social welfare programs, graduated from high school, and is successfully living with his family.
Because of your previous support, you changed Ricky’s life.
Ricky is just one example of our mission in action: enriching communities, one family at a time.
Ricky learned skills for living through a therapeutic environment. He attended group and individual therapy, met with a psychiatrist routinely, worked with his social worker, and grew up at BCC to become a smart and confident young man. Ricky is just one of the many reunification stories we have to share with you.
Will you please consider making a year-end gift so that we can continue to share more of these stories with you? A gift of $250, $100, $50, or $25 will help our current program participants continue treatment.
Wishing you and your loved ones have a very happy and healthy New Year!
If you wish to make a credit card gift by year-end, please visit our website: boardofchildcare.org/donate before 11:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on 12/31/16. Please do not leave any credit card information in a voice message or in an email. The last day to make a gift of over the phone, a gift of stock or an IRA transfer is Friday, December 30th. For assistance with any of these please call our Development Office 410-922-2100 x 5430. Bequests can be done during normal business hours via phone any time of the year. Our offices will be closed on Saturday, December 31st 2016, so please make your gift online.
A copy of our current financial statement is available upon written request to Board of Child Care 3300 Gaither Rd., Baltimore, MD 21244 or by phone at 410-922-2100. The documents are also available online at guidestar.org.
Blue Ridge CTC student tutors are education majors who are taking a class that requires at least ten hours of face-to-face experience with at-risk youth. The Blue Ridge CTC students will provide one to two hours tutoring weekly from October through December. Cumulatively over 200 hours of tutoring will be provided for the approximately 25 young adults living at BCC’s WV programs.
This is the first partnership between BCC and Blue Ridge CTC. Orientation for the 18 Blue Ridge CTC student tutors took place September 26 at BCC. The student tutors received a tour of the campus and an overview of the therapy and programing offered by BCC.
“It is absolutely wonderful to have tutors coming in to help our youth,” said Jackie Columbia, Director of WV Operations for BCC. “We hope that Blue Ridge CTC will make tutoring at BCC part of the curriculum each year. It is such a wonderful resource for our youth especially so early in the school year. It really gives them some momentum and confidence heading into the second semester.”
BCC has two program locations in Martinsburg, WV and both serve foster care youth in WV. On the larger campus, youth live and go to school on the property. At the group homes, youth attend public school during the day. Blue Ridge CTC student tutors will volunteer at both program locations.
BCC staff share best practices and lessons learned
On October 6, 2016, BCC’s Director of Training, Monte Ephraim LCSW-C, and Shawn Elbert, BCC’s Baltimore Spiritual Life Coordinator, represented the Board of Child Care by presenting at the 36th Annual MARFY Conference.
Participant were introduced to The Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit (CWTTT), which is an evidence-based toolkit designed to teach basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children who are in the child welfare system and who have experienced traumatic events.
The toolkit teaches strategies for using trauma-informed child welfare practice to enhance the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families who are involved in the child welfare system. Participants had an opportunity to review the toolkit and the applicable benefits to their own work. The presentation also discussed how to infuse trauma-informed care into an organization and make it a focus for each staff working with youth.
Shawn and Monte will be also be presenting at the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) Conference on October 27th. Their session will focus on Mental Health First Aid, of which Shawn and Monte are certified trainers.
Hunt is a born and raised Washington, D.C. native with a passion for working with young children. She received her associate’s degree in child development from Southeastern University. Hunt became a teacher in 2006 at BCC’s Early Learning Program (Washington, D.C.).
Q. Have you always known you wanted to work with young children? A. Absolutely. In high school, I was a tutor in an aftercare program, and from them on always had a passion to work with young children. When I graduated from Southeastern, I went to work at a childcare center right away. Four years later, I joined BCC and have been here ever since.
Q. DC uses a mixed income model in its classrooms. How does that work? A. A little over half of the children at the DC ELP are utilizing a voucher from the District of Columbia to cover tuition. The remainder of the families pay privately. I really like this model because it encourages an exchange of culture. Traditions such as clothing, language, and observed holidays all shine through in the classroom. It is a special moment when you see that the kids are learning from each other.
Q. You mentioned you had a “shadow” with you from day one. Who was following you around? A. My first day at BCC was also the first day for an adorable little one-year-old toddler. I just so happened to be the first person she met when she came to the center. She must have seen my “I’m new here too” glow because she followed me around all the time after that!
Q. Leaving their parents is tough for some children. What do you do to help them adjust? A. You absolutely need to be compassionate and remember that every child will adjust differently. The DC program serves kids from six weeks up through five year olds, but all of them need a lot of nurturing at this stage in their lives.
Q. How have early learning programs changed since you graduated from school? A. I think the whole industry of childcare is changing and I am glad to be at a place where an actual curriculum is used. [Ed. Note: the curriculum the DC ELP uses is called the Creative Curriculum]. I learn a lot from it. I like all the ideas it gives me for how to manage my classroom and the actual resource cards, books, and learning tools are great. I also recently attended Quality Improvement Network’s (QIN) almost yearlong training in early childhood development and really took a lot away from that.
[Ed. Note: The Quality Improvement network is a consortium of early learning providers in DC working to improve access to quality early childhood education. Ashely completed eight, 3-hour sessions over the past year that were offered by QIN. Some of the modules covered included classroom management strategies and student-teacher interaction techniques.]
Q. We heard you took away more than a certificate of completion after the QIN training. What was it? A. I was honored to be selected by my fellow classmates as the winner of the “QIN Spirit” award!