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Maryland DHR, The Institute, and NCHCW Enter Partnership to Prevent Youth Homelessness

A federal planning grant focused on preventing and ending homelessness for youth with child welfare histories has been awarded to an academic and governmental partnership whose work will improve lives on the Upper Shore of Maryland.

The Institute for Innovation & Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR), and the National Center on Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW), received a two-year, $750,000 planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  (HHS).

Maryland’s Thrive@25 grant covers the counties of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot, working closely with the local departments of social services and their network of partners.  A larger “Learning Community” will be formed to include all counties statewide in order to share ongoing research and lessons learned.

Nationally, more than half of the youth who turn 21 and age out of the child welfare system experience homelessness within the first 18 months of leaving care.

“By learning more about the factors associated with homelessness for youth with foster care histories, we can design new interventions tailored to meet the individual needs of youth in our care and help them successfully transition to independence,” said DHR Secretary Ted Dallas.

Partners are scheduled to launch Thrive@25 at a kickoff event Jan. 23 at the Talbot County Department of Social Services in Easton, Md. The grant will demonstrate key components of DHR’s Ready by 21 efforts and develop a comprehensive and coordinated approach to preventing and solving the issues of youth homelessness. Members of the Ready by 21 Committee for each of the five counties are slated to attend the event, as well as youth who are sharing their own experiences.

Ready by 21 prepares foster youth for adulthood. More than half the foster care population in Maryland is over the age of 14. Ready by 21 prepares these youth for independent living by ensuring they have access to stable housing, health care, mentors and financial resources, and that they meet their educational goals.

“The grant from the HHS Administration of Children and Families is a great opportunity to leverage the work that has been done in Maryland to prevent and end youth homelessness and ensure that all youth enter adulthood with the necessary skills, resources, and supports to be successful,” said Michelle Zabel, director of The Institute.

The Institute’s Elizabeth Greeno, PhD, and Deborah Harburger, MSW, are principal investigator and project director, respectively. The Institute is a Center of Excellence on Systems of Care for the Maryland Children’s Cabinet, a subcabinet of the Governor’s Executive Council.

The NCHCW’s Ruth White, executive director of the center and the leading presenter at the event, will orient participants to current research and efforts around the country regarding housing options for youth from extended foster care to permanent housing for older youth leaving care. The NCHCW, a key partner in the grant, works at the local, regional, and national level to link housing resources and knowledge to child welfare agencies.



Filed in: Caroline County, DHS News, Dorchester County, Homelessness, Kent County, Queen Anne's County, Talbot County

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