New coaches, new approaches steering BCC residential programming

National partnerships are laying groundwork for continued program growth in 2016

Berger HS

BCC program director, Kelly Berger (pictured), is working with BCC’s residential team on ushering in new evidence-based therapy models for BCC’s residential programs.

The tapestry for all of this change is called Integrated Treatment Design (ITD). ITD weaves across all of BCC’s residential programs, from Maryland to West Virginia. At its core are several new toolboxes for BCC’s direct care teams who are with the residents 24/7.

BCC has engaged in two national partnerships to help onboard our staff. The first is with Chaddock, a residential provider with similar programs to BCC except based out of Quincy, Illinois. Chaddock is widely considered an industry leader in advancing residential treatment for children who have experienced severe abuse, neglect, or other trauma in their early years of development.

The second is through BCC’s participation in the Residential Transformation Cohort (RTC) project. Offered through the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, it is a gathering of like-minded human service organizations who are in the midst of a cultural and programmatic transformation.

The lead facilitator of the RTC is Tom Woll, a nationally renowned service delivery and organizational development expert known for his analysis of trends coupled with a thoughtful and entertaining presentation style. BCC was fortunate to host Mr. Woll at the end of March on both the West Virginia and Baltimore campuses. He spent time in the cottages coaching staff and supervisors, and also provided some high level discussion and debrief for the program leadership.

“One of the biggest shifts BCC is engaged in right now – something we had started before partnering with Chaddock or participating in the RTC – was a shift away from a punitive behavior-management system,” says Berger. “The work we’re doing with Chaddock and Tom Woll teaches staff to read and assess the residential culture and energy of the cottage. They learn to gauge the non-verbal behaviors and cues. Overall the practices we’re rolling out allow our staff to model, teach, and that is where we can make a real impact for someone.”

In addition to working on deployment of these new tools, Berger is simultaneously overseeing a program specifically serving teenage girls, sees massive potential for positive outcomes. The program for females specifically opened at the end of 2015 in Baltimore, with West Virginia set to open this spring.

“Organizational change is difficult at any level,” commented Laurie Anne Spagnola, President & CEO. “However, this is what we need to be doing – we need to focus on what practices are evidence-based and focus on what our successful peers have learned. It’s only through this kind of knowledge sharing that we as a sector can truly hope to make a difference in the lives of these kids.”

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Animals and birds echo through Strawbridge

Collaborative effort with CCBC offer a birds’ eye view of nature

Students at the Board of Child Care’s Strawbridge School spent some time with a few unique visitors early in March – animals from Echoes of Nature.

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Red-tail hawk shown at Strawbridge School

Based out of Bowie, MD, Echoes of Nature offers hands-on, educational programs featuring live animals to schools, day care centers, adult centers, and birthday and community events.

Echo Uzzo, the class instructor, started the lesson by showing students a small Eastern box turtle. Next was a chinchilla, a crepuscular rodent (most active around dawn and dusk) slightly larger than ground squirrels. Introduced next was a Ball Python snake, which curls when they feel threatened to make themselves a smaller target.

An opossum and a majestic red-tailed hawk capped the show. This was the only presentation students were not able to come close to or touch. Several times, this male bird – which weighs around two pounds but can stoop downward in pursuit of prey at over 100 mph – squawked and preened while Uzzo handled spoke to the class.

Uzzo spoke about how birds such as the bald eagle commonly nest from Washington to Baltimore to Annapolis, sharing waterways with fish, turtles and other animals, and how nature has moved into our backyards and cities as humans claim more land for development. Animals are under increased pressure to adapt to our presence or die.

“This was our second visit to Strawbridge, and I thought the kids were really awesome,” Uzzo said. “They’re engaged, interested and show a genuine appreciation and love for the animals.”

Uzzo says funding and building a wildlife discovery center is the ultimate goal for her company, but seeing the positive interaction between animals and humans is what motivates Uzzo.

“You protect what you like, and these kids are our future,” Uzzo said.

The Community College of Baltimore County collaborates with Strawbridge School to offer different classes to various 11th and 12th grade students. Last year, classes included childcare certification, retail, clerical and professional animal work (PAWS). Retail and PAWS carried forward to this year.

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Volunteers help BCC expand Easter 2016

Our Auxiliary did a wonderful job as always with the 2016 Easter Baskets!  Residents received them on Easter Day (and those who went home for the weekend had the basket waiting for them on their bed when they returned).  auxiliary-stuffing-easter-baskets

Special thanks to the following volunteer groups who helped the Spiritual Life team expand their Easter impact this year: Howard University students, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Glen Marr UMC youth group, and Asburry UMC (Jessup, MD) youth group!

Over 700 plastic eggs (some sports themed!) were stuffed with candy thanks to the adult volunteers from Dream and Flourish – a program operating out of Windsor Mill Middle School


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BCC Spotlight: SARAH DISCHNER, Clinical Social Worker

DischnerSarah Dischner, 29, is a Clinical Social Worker based out of BCC’s Charlotte Hall office in southern Maryland. Exclusively seeing youth in BCC’s Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program, Dischner came to BCC in 2015 after seeing schizophrenia patients in Pittsburgh the prior four years. A native of Williamsport, PA, Dischner earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011.

Q: What attracted you to and motivated you to apply to BCC:
A: I was planning to move to the Maryland area in general and the opportunity with Board of Child Care sounded interesting because working with children was always appealing to me.

Q: What is your title and what does a garden-variety day look like for you?
A: As a clinical social worker for TFC I serve youth and families impacted by complex trauma. A typical morning for me includes compiling notes, prepping for appointments, and completing care plans and other paperwork.

I start seeing youth when school is out, so I spend afternoons on the road and in the community. I conduct one on one visits with the kids, as well as sessions with them and their families. Sometimes this means their biological parents, and sometimes it is with BCC’s TFC parents. I work closely with the TFC team to make sure that both the child and the TFC parents are receiving the support they need.

Q: This is not a typical 9-to-5 job – what makes this work rewarding to you?
A: Being able to help someone make the small changes in their life that translate to big changes for them and their community is what gets me out of bed in the morning. The youth and families I work with volunteer to participate in therapy with me – and sometimes not everyone wants to be there.

Many little engagements are necessary to earn the respect and trust of the child and their family (biological or foster care) to make progress possible.

Q: What has been better than advertised about coming aboard with BCC?
A: Being able to flex my schedule has been a big benefit to working at BCC. If I see someone at eight or nine in the evening, I can come in at 10am the next day so I do not burn out. I have also been impressed with the organization’s effort to make sure practitioners get the help and attention we need.

I feel like supervisors actually care about the staff and having that support has solidified for me the feeling that I made a good decision to join BCC.

Q: You recently found a horse tooth from the Ice Age. What is this all about?
A: Shark teeth, crab fossils, and mollusks all wash up on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Calvert Cliff State Park and Flag Pond State Park are two of my favorite beaches to visit. Winter is definitely better than summer for this activity.

A few months ago, I found a tooth much bigger than normal for a mammal. After I posted a picture online, Calvert Marine Museum contacted me and indicated it was probably from a horse and that they would like to see it and study it further. Mammal teeth are rare because typically, during the Ice Age, mammals would die, float out to sea, decompose, and sink – so finding the tooth on a beach is unusual and very lucky!


Editor’s Note:

The version of this article published in Keywords originally listed Sarah’s title incorrectly as an Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT) specialist. She is a Clinical Social Worker at BCC.  Our apologies to Sarah!

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