I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days

Welcome to the first week of 40 Days of Positive Actions and Thoughts!

On Wednesday, everyone in our BCC community was invited to take this pledge:

I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days.
I will practice being kind to others as well as to myself.

We begin our positive actions with taking care of ourselves and making sure that we are safe.  I once heard that people training to become Buddhist monks spend the first year of their training learning how to be compassionate with themselves.  In order to care for others effectively, we must first care for ourselves.

Where are you in making yourself a priority?  How do you care for yourself as a whole person – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, intellectually?

How can you practice being kind to yourself?

In terms of our BCC core values, safety is first.  Safety is our mindset at all times and in all situations.  We work in a trauma-informed way to prepare our environment, ourselves and others.  What can you do this day to help yourself and others be safe?

You can act on increasing your safety and the safety of others wherever you are.  Each one of us impacts the overall environment and we can contribute positively to the safety of our BCC community.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • check around for items that might be a threat to someone’s safety such as a sharp item discarded on the sidewalk
  • deepen trust in your therapeutic relationships
  • introduce yourself to a visitor or a staff/youth you do not know
  • plan for an emergency
  • help a child or young person to talk about how they can contract for safety for themselves

“At the end of the day, the goals are simple:  safety and security.”  -Jodi Rell

Thank you for taking a moment to reflect with me on positivity, particularly in terms of self-care and safety.

For those of you who would like some religious resources, read on for selected scripture verses in the Judeo-Christian traditions.

The most ancient God is a place of safety; the eternal arms are a support. Deuteronomy 33:27

My God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.  God is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:3

I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because you alone, God, let me live in safety. Psalm 4:8

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety. Psalm 16:9

God’s name is a place of protection – good people can run there and be safe. Proverbs 18:10

You can go to God Most High to hide.  You can go to God All-Powerful for protection.  I say to God, “You are my place of safety, my fortress.  My God, I trust in you.” Psalm 91:1-2

As appropriate, I encourage to discuss images of God that help us feel safe and secure in our relationship with God.  The scriptures give us many starting points for discussion.

May we work together with God’s blessing to increase our sense of safety as individuals and as a community.  May we be kind to ourselves and then extend that kindness to others.

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Washington, D.C. Mayor selects BCC’s Early Learning Program as venue to highlight two tax credits in the District.

Mayor Bowser giving press conference

Washington DC, Mayor Mayor Bowser selects the Board of Child Care’s Early Learning Program in Ward 6 to highlight two tax credits – the Early Learning Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – March 4, 2019 – Today, at Board of Child Care in Ward 6, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted two tax credits – the Early Learning Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – that can save District families thousands of dollars during tax season.

“Eligible Washingtonians can put thousands of dollars in their pockets through the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Early Learning Tax Credit; but to get the money, residents must know about these credits and claim them,” said Mayor Bowser. “We created the Early Learning Tax Credit as a way of making early child care more affordable for District families. Now, we want to make sure families know about it and are claiming it.”

In last year’s budget, Mayor Bowser created the Early Learning Tax Credit to make child care more affordable for District families. Through the Early Learning Tax Credit, families with children enrolled in a licensed DC child care facility can receive a tax credit of up to $1,000 per eligible child. An eligible child must be a dependent of the taxpayer and meet the following age requirements: a child under the age of 4 (age 0-3) as of December 31, 2018 or a child who reached the age of 4 between October 1 and December 31, 2018.

Additionally, low-income working families are eligible for up to $9,000 in combined District and federal EITCs. In 2018, 25 million workers received more than $63 billion in EITC refunds nationwide. In the District of Columbia, 50,000 workers received $117 million in EITC refunds. However, approximately 19,000 eligible residents failed to claim their credit, leaving nearly $45 million on the table.

Residents who worked last year and had an income of less than $54,884 should learn more about their EITC eligibility. Trained tax preparers can determine if individuals qualify for the EITC and ELC tax credits.

In addition to claiming these credits, families can save hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees by participating in the District Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking’s EITC campaign. The EITC campaign provides free tax preparation services at 17 centers for families making up to $55,000. Residents can find a full list of free tax preparation sites HERE.

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40 Days of Positivity

On behalf of the Spiritual Life Team I would like to invite all of you to participate in the 40 Days of Positive Actions and Thoughts campaign!

I will practice being kind to others as well as to myself.

Everyone is encouraged to increase the positivity in our individual lives and across BCC.  We will work together over the next forty days (not counting Sundays) to embody our core values of safety, integrity, empathy and impact.  Please join us by taking your pledge of positivity!

I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days.

All members of the BCC community are invited to make this commitment.  Attached you will find a calendar to keep track of your actions.  You can write in each day what you do or check it off or place a sticker or color it in – however you want to record how you live out your commitment for each day.  The 40 Days begins on Wednesday, March 6.

Feel free to adapt the chart and use it with your family and friends at home or the young people you work with here.

In order to encourage our BCC youth to participate and provide concrete incentives, we suggest that you tie the pledge of positivity in with our PBIS programs already in place.  You may reward positive actions with “behavior bucks” as appropriate.

At the end of the 40 days, we will have opportunities to celebrate our commitment to positivity.  Please look for the invitations from our Spiritual Life team.

Along the way, we will be supporting our collective efforts through spiritual life programming and weekly emails with specific suggestions on how to implement positive living.  Your actions will make an impact within the entire BCC community and beyond.

Make the commitment – take the pledge – and let’s live and act in a spirit of positivity!

With gratitude from BCC’s Spiritual Life Team:

West Virginia Spiritual Life Coordinator –  Mr. Aaron Andrews

Baltimore Spiritual Life Coordinator –  Ms. Lakia Johnson

Denton – Pastor John Allen

PA – Pastor Bobby Jones

WV – Ms. Barbara Byers, Substance Abuse Treatment Director

Rev. Stacey Nickerson, Director of Church and Community Engagement

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BCC Wins Best Practice Award from EAGLE Commission

BCC-wins-best-practice-award-2019-eagle-commissionFrom Left to right:  Robert Kelly (Board Chair), Laurie Anne Spagnola (President & CEO), Nicole Smith (Executive Director of MD & DC Programs), Bob Kimmons (Board Member), Kevin Gralley (Vice Chair)

BCC Wins Best Practice Award from EAGLE Commission

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Kristian Sekse
Chief Operating Officer
(443) 845-4395 (cell)
ksekse@boardofchildcare.org

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – February 19, 2019. Board of Child Care announced today it had received a best practice award from the EAGLE Accreditation Commission.  The best practice award is given to organizations doing standard practices in an outstanding way.

Summary of the Nomination

In 2016 a tragedy occurred at a Delaware residential program that took the life of a young lady from Maryland. This prompted the expedited, targeted removal of all MD youth from that facility. The programming needs of these youth were considerably outside the traditional profile served by BCC at the time. Eleven youth ultimately transferred to BCC because of the tragedy, and with the knowledge that significant challenges were expected to serve these young people and their families, BCC sprang into action.

Staff learned skills such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for the Developmentally Delayed individuals (TCI – DD), and were retrained to collect new types of behavioral and environmental data. Major investments in the facilities such as safe, non-breakable windows and calming rooms were made. As the new program progressed its data was tracked and, ultimately, showed very positive outcomes for some of the youth who were previously not considered to be able to be served by any Maryland provider.

In the end being closer to family, combined with a deep focus on prescribed medications and behavior management drove better treatment outcomes. Big picture, the event in Delaware and BCC’s adaptations to its high intensity residential program made an impact at the state level. The State of Maryland released a Request for Proposal that utilized the hard work of BCC as the framework for new programming offered in state. BCC responded to the opportunity in 2018 and is still anxiously waiting the awarding of the contract to serve Emotional, Cognitive and Developmentally Delayed youth and their families.

What outcomes or benefits came from this practice or program?

Kids with complex problems and treatment needs were able to be served in the state in which they live. Being closer to family drove better treatment outcomes. BCC was able to respond to the State of Maryland in their time of need. BCC shared this practice, and our learning with some of our United Methodist partners from different states like WV and GA. BCC developed more capacity to serve some of the state’s most vulnerable youth.

Why is this considered a best practice?

Working with complex trauma is something very few organizations do or do well. During the research phase BCC traveled to providers in California and Oregon widely considered the best in this space. The way BCC prepared to serve this newer, more acute population is a best practice because what was learned from the leading agencies in this space was applied to the new program structure. The results of our data collection drove a new program offering by the state of Maryland.

Disclosure:

BCC’s President & CEO, Laurie Anne Spagnola, was at the time of this award a board member of the United Methodist Association (UMA), the not-for-profit that oversees EAGLE accreditation. However, Ms. Spagnola was not a member of the selection committee nor was she privy to conversations during deliberations for the award. 

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MLK Volunteer Day @ BCC

Volunteers putting together Welcome Bags for new residents on this MLK Day of Service.

I just wanted to thank everyone for a transformational Day of Service.  It takes a lot of servants (both young and experienced) to plan and implement an event that is designed for families to serve together with others to meet the needs of their community in a meaningful way.  I am always amazed by the presence of the holy spirit and the enthusiasm of the volunteers.  – Rev. Bruce, Glen Mar UMC
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Core Value Award Winner: Darren Overton

IMPACT drives lasting change

We seek to make lasting change in the lives of those we work with by providing services that are durable, measurable, and sustainable. We will maximize our impact by investing in staff and board development. Feedback gathered from our entire community will enhance and strengthen our programs and their outcomes.

Darren is a Unit Supervisor in the Caminos program. For the past few weeks, Darren has led the Young Men’s Focus Group, which consists of the male youth in the residential program along with the staff. Although Darren’s main responsibility is to serve as the Unit Supervisor, he has dedicated his additional time to plan and run this group. The activities and lessons focus on increasing the self-esteem and teaching life skills. Darren has found ways to promote the group across campus, which has resulted in a consistent increase in involvement and attendance since its inception.
Darren, we appreciate the effort you have made to make this group a reality. I know that you are having a true impact on the attendees both during and outside out of the sessions. Congratulations and thank you!

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Core Value Award Winner: Zach Jones

Listen and respond with EMPATHY

Empathy will guide our programming and culture at all levels. A supportive work and program environment means possessing a desire to know and understand others. We recognize that with empathy we will better understand what type of care and encouragement to provide.

Many of our youth are constantly working through many challenges in their daily life. The role of our staff is very important in making sure that they are supporting our youth in the most trauma informed way. Zach is a Child Care Worker for our Caminos program. He has been seen on numerous occasions taking the time out to make our Caminos residents feel valued by listening to them, attending to their needs, and engaging with them through fun activities like playing board games. Ensuring that our residents are receiving the best possible care while at BCC contributes to our organization’s purpose. Zach I am very grateful for your supportive and therapeutic approach to your work. Congratulations.

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Core Value Award Winner: Devon Stevenson

Act with INTEGRITY

Openness and honesty with all stakeholders make for both the best program outcomes and team culture. We, as an organization, must build trust with our program participants by being thoughtful, transparent, and committed to our decisions and promises.

Our Denton Campus has recently gone through a few changes and transitions, which has required staff to be flexible and patient. Devon is a Child Care Worker at the campus. He has been recognized for how he has embraced the transition by displaying positive leadership capabilities to his fellow staff. Devon has stepped up to take on additional duties to ensure that the program is fully staffed and running smoothly. He effortlessly displays a commitment to PBIS and has dedicated his time to help guide our young people and staff in a new direction of positive behavior.
Devon, thank you so much for being a role model to your fellow staff and our youth. Congratulations!

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Foster Care Youth Panel Blog Post written by SIL Program Participant

The Board of Child Care provides youth with various opportunities to network and express their experiences while in foster care. Below is the story written by one of our youth who participated in panel discussion with other Maryland Foster Care Youth

When I was asked to participate in the MARFY foster care panel, I didn’t have to think twice about giving an astounding “Yes!”. I always enjoy talking about my foster care experiences and giving feedback on what works  and what needs improvement. While participating in the panel, I was asked questions such as “How is my therapy going” and “how am I able to calm down when I’m escalated”, and my overarching response was relationships. At the Board of Child Care, I have formed strong relationships with Child Care Workers who understand me and want to see me succeed.

The panel also consisted of a networking session where I was able to exchange contact information with various stakeholders who will be able to help me achieve my personal and career goals, and gave me an opportunity to connect with the Maryland Foster Care Ombudsman who is always available to offer me support and resources when needed. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and hope to be able to attend this panel event next year!

 

 

 

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