Catholic Charities Child & Family Services

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Catholic Charities Child & Family Services

SVV Consolidation Update

Due to a variety of factors, it has been decided to complete the consolidation of our residential program into the Pot Spring Building by the end of August, 2015.  The reasons for doing this earlier than originally projected include:

1.There have been ongoing challenges with filling our RTC staffIn order to solidify and strengthen teams, we will be filling our vacancies with current staff (from the units that will be closing)

2.Census/Referral Trends—We have experienced lower number of referrals for a long

3.Most staff have been informed of their employment status when the consolidationThose who have not will be met with within the next week or two.  Just as with Villa Maria School, we wanted to share this information now in order to give staff who are not guaranteed a position time to find alternative employment.  As we experienced during the first consolidation several years ago, some staff will choose to leave sooner rather than later and when this happens, there is a potential for impact on team dynamics, morale and quality of care.  It is imperative that we consolidate in such a way that does not compromise safety and quality of care for the kids, families and staff.

4.With the Department of Community Resources programs moving out of the Dulaney Valley building within the next few months, I am concerned about the vitality of the DVIt is becoming increasingly difficult to come to a building that is more than half empty.  While we hoped that we would get the UAC program in the DV building, there is not a guarantee this will happen and we need to move forward.

As a result of the above reasons, the tentative timeframe for unit closures/move is as follows:

1.Phoenix will close by 1/15/15.

2.Sojourner will close by 4/15/15.

3.Genesis will close by 6/30/15.

4.Gonzaga will close by 8/31/15.

5.Ambrose will move to Pot Spring by 8/31/15.

The specific units and timeframe are subject to change based on referral/census changes, staff departures, level of disruption for the children, families and staff, implications for clinical readiness and continuity and other variables.  We will keep you informed if these timeframes change.  We will continue to evaluate this plan on a regular basis, maintain open communication and seek feedback throughout the process.
The reason for staggering the closure of the units is to maintain as much continuity as possible for as long as possible. Our past experience shows it can take 2 months or more to downsize a unit.  We will be “freezing” new admissions into the units that will be closing a couple of months prior to closure while simultaneously discharging or transferring the children, whichever is clinically in their best interest. We will be renovating Nazareth to add a 14th diagnostic bedroom as this will serve as the one Diagnostic Unit.  The reason the Nazareth space was chosen over the Genesis space is because they currently have 13 bedrooms, whereas Genesis has 12.  The name of the consolidated Diagnostic Unit has not been determined.  However, it is likely to have a new name.
During the consolidation process, for the children in the RTC units that will be closing and who are not ready for discharge, they will transfer to another RTC unit at PS, thereby increasing the number of kids in each RTC unit to an average of 12, with the potential of an occasional overlapping 13th child.  As we increase the number of children in each RTC unit, we will also increase the number of full-time staff to ensure appropriate support and coverage.
There are some positions which will be changed, reduced or eliminated as part of this process. The individuals most closely affected by the changes are aware and have had an opportunity to discuss with their supervisors. The staff of the units which will be closing will be met with individually soon to discuss their preferences for transfer.  We will do our best to accommodate preferences as much as possible.
I have some very good news to share.  Along with these changes and in order to improve staff recruitment and retention and balance the budget, we plan to increase the new hire base rates for our RTC 1, RTC 2 and Sr. RTC.  We are looking into rate adjustments for of our current RTC 1’s, 2’s and Sr. RTC’s based on the new levels. We will also be expanding the types of Bachelor’s degrees we can consider in hiring (historically, it had to be in a human service field) and pilot hiring one non-degreed (high school diploma) staff per unit.  The timing of these changes are yet to be determined.
I am sensitive and sympathetic to the emotional impact the consolidation and unit/building closing will have on many.  It’s hard on a number of levels.  It’s also hard because we still don’t know if we will be receiving the grant to serve unaccompanied youth, which may provide employment opportunities for some staff whose jobs will be impacted by the residential consolidation.  As you know, this will impact whether we close the Dulaney Valley building.  
During times of significant change, communication and timely and accurate information is critical. Such an environment is also ripe for misinformation and rumor to take hold.  We will strive to provide regular communication for our staff via all staff meetings, residential updates and other vehicles.  If you come across information which is unclear to you or different than what we may have communicated, I encourage you to please share these observations and questions with your supervisor, Ray, Mike or myself.
As always, please seek the support of your colleagues, supervisor, Department Director or HR Manager.  I am also more than happy to meet with any staff individually.
We will hold three SVV All Staff Meetings to discuss these plans further and to answer your questions. They will be held:
Wednesday, 11/19 at 1:00p.m. at PS Gym
Wednesday 11/19 at 9:00p.m. at DV Board Room
Saturday, 11/22 at 2:15p.m. at PS Training Room 
We will let you know when the children, families and other consumers will be informed of the changes.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.
Ezra Buchdahl


Parking on Leaves

It’s that time of year again when the trees drop their leaves at an alarming rate.  During this time, please make sure that you are aware of your surroundings when parking and exiting your car.  Maintenance is working hard to clear the leaves from the parking lot every day, but they often cannot keep up with the speed in which the leaves fall.  Staff should take great care in where they park and to be careful not to park on any debris as it can ignite with the heat generated by a car’s engine.

Steve Branson


Feedback to the Division Director

Recently I invited everyone to provide feedback to me through the new feature on Division Net.  I was contacted by a number of people over the past week, and I thought it would be valuable to share the things I have heard.  Hopefully this will inspire others to share more ideas and thoughts about the Division with me. 

First of all, I received numerous messages to simply thank me for this opportunity, and while I appreciate this feedback I am the one who feels thankful that people are taking advantage of this opportunity.  I very much appreciate knowing what people are thinking. 

There were three other specific recommendations that I thought I would briefly share. 

1. We had a recommendation to improve the signs on the Dulaney Valley Campus.  I must admit that this has crossed my mind numerous times as I have seen many visitors who are confused about which building is which.  So I have forwarded this onto Jon Hackbarth and John Steuernagle for consideration.   

2. I received a comment offering some concern over how well we are retaining staff, the specific concern was related to our outpatient clinics, but it is an area that we need to do better across the division.  In thinking about this, it strikes me that there are probably some ideas floating around out there around how we could do better in this area.  So I am asking our HR team to make some efforts to either pull together some focus groups or attend some staff meetings, and ask people to share ideas that they have on what we could do to improve our staff retention.  I am also asking people to share any ideas you have directly with me through the Feedback to the Director link of Division Net. 

3. I received one anonymous comment.  The comment was about the Town Hall meeting, and expressing some concern that the presentation wasn’t at a level that they found useful, and expressing an interest in getting much more into the details of the plan and to have a clearer understanding of the “so what” aspect of how it really impacts people working directly with our clients day-to-day.  I think this was great feedback, and I have talked with a number of people (including Bill McCarthy) about how we could do a better job of getting these details to people who want them.  I have thought about the possibility of doing some Division Town Hall meetings, but part of the problem with this is to have people from a variety of areas to be able to get into the specific areas that impact particular programs.  So I think the best plan here is to let all administrators and program directors know that I would welcome an invitation to attend your team meetings to get into this type of detail if your staff would be interested.   Please let me know if you would find this helpful and we will get it scheduled. 



Kevin Keegan Director, Child and Family Services Division Catholic Charities of Baltimore


Sense of Competency in a Trauma-Informed Agency

In the past few months, we’ve looked at trauma and the impact of trauma on clients as a component of becoming more trauma-informed as an agency.  While being aware of traumatic life experiences is an important element of trauma informed care, it is equally important to understand the benefit of resiliency. Resiliency refers to a capacity for humans to survive and thrive despite challenging or threatening circumstances.  One component of resiliency is having a sense of competence.
A sense of competence involves knowing – rather than hoping or guessing - that one has the ability to handle a situation.  Developing this sense involves building upon strengths and learning from mistakes so that over time, an individual can trust his or her judgment and make responsible choices. 
We help build a sense of competency in others when we:
  • Recognize and help to build upon strengths
  • Articulate mistakes in a way that identifies the mistake as problematic rather than the person. 
  • Provide opportunities for learning social, educational, and vocational skills
  • Teach strategies to manage frustration and stress in a healthy manner
  • Allow for individuals to make their own choices
  • Avoid the inclination to save others in every situation; safe decisions that lead to poor outcomes can be tremendous learning opportunities.
Be sure to check back next month for information about the importance of caring and respect for others.



I wanted to extend a quick thanks to those who were able to attend the Town Hall meetings that Bill McCarthy has been having around the agency.  I hope people have found them to be informative. 

There were a number of questions raised at today’s meeting around the issue of communication.  This is an area that I am concerned about and very focused on.  We need to make sure that we are identifying the best ways to communicate with everyone in an efficient manner, with the realization that no single means of communication will get to everyone.   We have a division that is geographically diverse, with 4 generations of people working side by side who have varying degrees of technical knowledge and access to electronic communications. 

Of course, communication is bi-directional.  A large part of my focus is not only on getting information out, but also on making sure that we are hearing about what you are thinking and seeing.  I want to make sure that me and the other leaders in our division are giving staff ample opportunity to share feedback, suggestions, and concerns, as well as hearing what we are doing well and positive things people are seeing. 

With that in mind, there is a feature that has been added to Division Net to give feedback directly to me.  I had not yet advertised this, but it seemed like a good time to do so with some of the feedback I was hearing today from all parts of the agency.  This feature allow you to leave a message anonymously, or to leave contact information that will allow me to follow up with you.  The link to this feature is on the front page of Division Net under the Quick Links section, entitled “Feedback to the Director”.  I am also pasting the link below.

Of course, I am always available by email and people are always welcome to call, and I truly appreciate when people stop in my office to chat.  But this link gives one more opportunity for a quick way to send me a note as you try to squeeze too many things into your busy days. 

Take care,


Kevin Keegan Director, Child and Family Services Division Catholic Charities of Baltimore


Dietary News

After six years of outstanding and dedicated service as Director of Nutritional Services for Child and Family Services, Maggy Swift-Gobel will change to a consultant status effective November 10. 
Maggy has always been a champion for children.  During her time as Director, Maggy’s first priority was to ensure that the children we serve receive meals that are both nutritional and good-tasting.  She is driven by a passion to see children eat well and be healthy.  In the worst of snowstorms, Maggy would often be first or second person to arrive in the kitchen to make sure meals were prepared and delivered on time. 
During the past several months, Maggy has presided over the transition to an outside food service vendor.  She has helped navigate the many hurdles in this process and, as a consultant, will continue to assist in improving the food delivery system.   We are fortunate that she has agreed to stay on in a consulting capacity.
Please join me in thanking Maggy for her dedicated service to the organization and in wishing her the best in all of her future endeavors.

St. Vincent’s Villa’s Annual Halloween Celebration

halloween 2014

This past weekend there were ghosts and goblins everywhere on the Dulaney Valley campus of St. Vincent’s Villa.  The annual Harkins Builders sponsored Haunted House and the UMBC sponsored Halloween Party were enjoyed by children of the Dulaney Valley and Pot Springs campuses.  The day was perfect weather wise and the costumes were imaginative and creative with help from our staff.  The students from UMBC had a total of ten stations where the children could pick and paint their own pumpkins, as well as have batman or hello kitty painted on their arms or faces, there were games and arts and crafts of all description.  The Haunted House was another complete success and was a real testament to the creativity and expertise of our volunteers from Harkins.  After lunch the children participated in their annual trick or treat event at Mercy Ridge where the residents were delighted to see the various costumes and also commented on how well behaved and courteous the children were during their time visiting there. Another fun-filled day that was enjoyed by both the children and the staff!  The picture shows our enthusiastic volunteers from UMBC and Harkins as well as our two S.T.A.R. interns, Violetta and Katherine.

Protecting Against Infections

As most or all of you are aware, the news has been full of discussions lately about risk of infection from the flu, Enterovirus D68, and Ebola.  We wanted to assure you that Catholic Charities is well prepared to deal with all of these infections.  We are monitoring all of the updates that the CDC and the World Health Organization is providing, and are prepared to adapt our safety procedures for any or all three infections as is necessary.

Enterovirus peaks every Fall, and dies down as winter approaches.  The best protection against Enterovirus is frequent hand washing, and staying home if you become sick, to reduce the risk of infecting your colleagues and the children and families we serve.

Influenza is already active in Maryland, and will continue to spread and infect through the Winter and into the Spring.  To combat the flu, in addition to the strategies of frequent hand washing and staying home if you become ill, we are fortunate to have a vaccination available.  It is vital that we all get immunized against the flu for own safety, for the safety of our families and friends, for the safety of our co-workers, and for the safety of the children and families that we serve.

Ebola virus was identified in 1976, and causes outbreaks in humans every few years.  It has always been contained, and although it has spread more widely with the current West African outbreak, this outbreak will also be eliminated.  One of the countries affected by the outbreak, Nigeria, has already eliminated all infection from its country.  The techniques that they used are simple – frequent hand washing, not touching potentially infected individuals without appropriate  equipment, and avoiding contact with others when ill.  Sound familiar?

Please wash your hands frequently, report temperatures of 100 degrees or above; severe head or body aches; diarrhea; vomiting; sore throat; or coughing to Anne Ober or Cindy Lutz, and seek medical help from your health care provider.

Thank you for all you do.  We will update you periodically about these and any other infectious diseases that may develop.

Cindy Lutz and Anne Ober


St. Vincent’s Villa Residential Update

October 13, 2014
I would like to thank everyone who attended one of the Residential All Staff Meetings this past week. For those who were not able to make it, here is a summary of the highlights:

1. We recognized staff who celebrated a special service anniversary. They include: 
• Cat Graves, Sr. Clinician in Genesis, for 5 years of service
• Andrea Telford, RTC II in Genesis, for 5 years of service
• Kathy Haerian, Therapist in Ambrose, for 5 years of service
• Letisha Tyrell, RTC II in DePaul, for 5 years of service
• Channel Walton, Milieu Supervisor in Sojourner, for 5 years of service
• Brooke Campbell, Behavioral Specialist, for 5 years of service
• Richelle Stefko, RTC II in Sojourner, for 5 years of service
• Kristi Eskridge, Transportation Coordinator, for 10 years of service
• Darnel Bias, Environmental Services, for 10 years of service
• Ta-Juan Gore-Cromer, RTC II in DePaul, for 10 years of service
• Robin Murray, Sr. RTC in Ambrose, for 15 years of service
• Kim Kiriazoglou, Nurse, for 15 years of service
• Kendall Goodrich, Behavioral Specialist, for 20 years of service
• James Zeauskas, NCCA, for 25 years of service
• Cindy Lutz, Assistant Director of Health Services, for 25 years os service
• Lisa Samuels, Housekeeping Coordinator, for 30 years of service
2. We also recognized our Mission in Action Award recipients—Johanna Miller, Dino Gizzi and Devin Foster.
When you see any of our Service Award or Mission in Action Award recipients, please thank them. We are incredibly fortunate to have such dedicated, skilled and compassionate staff who go above and beyond to improve the lives of children in our care.

3. We shared some information about Catholic Charities 2015-2017 Strategic Plan, which staff received from Bill McCarthy two weeks ago. Over the coming weeks, Bill will be hosting “Town Hall” meetings at which he will be talking about the plan and responding to questions and requesting feedback. Staff are encouraged to attend. For SVV and the Child and Family Services Division, two of our main strategic goals for the coming year are around becoming more trauma-informed in our care, treatment, and services as well as expanding our expertise in working with clients who suffer from both mental health and substance abuse challenges.
4. We provided an update on our proposal to establish a Shelter Care program to serve Unaccompanied Youth. We anticipated hearing about it by October 1st. Unfortunately, we have not received an answer. When we do and if we are fortunate enough to receive the grant, we will let staff know and schedule some staff meetings to give more details about the program and answer questions. Representatives from Esperanza Center attended our meeting last Wednesday to talk about who these children are, why working with them fits with our mission, and how SVV and the Esperanza Center would collaborate.
5. Key members from Kidztable came and talked about their roles, upcoming activities and ways they will elicit feedback from staff and children with the goal of improving food services. When you see them, please let them know what’s going well and what can be improved.
6. Anne spoke about Infection Control and Emergency Preparedness. It is important for all staff to get their flu shot (unless there is a medical or religious reason not to). Our goal this year is 90% of staff will become immunized. This not only protects the children, but your co-workers. As far as Emergency Preparedness, please speak with your supervisor and know what your role is in a Level 3 emergency.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for improvement, please don’t hesitate to ask. I look forward to sharing the upcoming holiday season with you. Thank you for all you do to improve lives. You truly make a difference.

Go O’s!

Villa Maria Students Donate to Favorite Charities

At Villa Maria School at Pot Spring, one of our priorities is to help our children to express compassion and empathy. Our students were studying the impact of natural disasters when Typhoon Haiyan blasted the Phillipines in late 2013. They learned that Haiyan, the strongest storm in history to ever make landfall, a Category 5 with sustained winds of 145-195 miles per hour, killed 6300 people and impacted over 11 million people on the islands, many of whom were left homeless.
“What can we do to help?”  Our students wanted to do something that would make a difference. They began crafting small gifts to sell at the Villa Maria Arts Festival scheduled for December. They raised $91.00.
Inspired by the response to this event, the children held a car wash in July.   The kids had a lot of fun and did a great job working together to wash the staff cars that came to support the effort. 
This summer in group therapy, our students learned about helping others (both people and animals). When therapist Jesse Fask asked the students what they wanted to do with the $121.00 that they had raised, they chose BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, because that they wanted to do something for abused pets. They learned that BARCS had increased adoptions from 90 to 3200 over four years, helping cats and dogs who would have been put to sleep. They were told how BARCS provided foster care for sick and abused animals and were also helping homeless animals.
This October at our Back to School Luncheon, students presented checks to BARCS representative Mary Helfrick who was accompanied by her rescue cat Percy. The check for the Phillipines was given to the Red Cross and accepted by the Villa Maria Volunteer Coordinator Maria Busko.
Special thanks to Mr. Thomas Jones and Maintenance Department for providing us with car wash supplies and support for the car wash!

Center for Family Services News

Over the past several months, several treatment foster care youth have been adopted or reunified with their family. Join us in celebration the following adoptions and reunifications!
Gerald - Adopted by the Mr. & Mrs. Blake a HOPE Family
Savannah- adopted by Mr. & Mrs. Malone, a HOPE Family
Hope- adopted by Mr. & Mrs. Hayden, a HOPE family
Amber- adopted by Ms Criner, a TFC family

Allen- was reunified with his familyOn September 24th 
Val Weems, Karen Stettes, Isaac Mensah and Leslie Womack received Center for Family Services Mission in Action Awards for their commitment and dedication to providing exemplary fiscal services to CFS for the past 10 years.
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New Staff, Volunteers and Interns

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Christopher Donaldson<br/>RTC II<br/>SVV-PSBrittany David<br/>Prov. Psychoeducator<br/>VMS-DVDonna Snapp<br/>U.R. Specialist<br/>Utilization Review


Current Forecast
Sat, 29 Nov 2014 12:13 am EST
High: 33°F
Low: 25°F
Sunrise  7:03 am
Sunset 4:41 pm
Humidity: 76 %
Visibility: 10 mi
Barometer: 30.33 in
 29 Nov 2014
Mostly Cloudy
42°F / 34°F
 30 Nov 2014
Partly Cloudy
54°F / 45°F
 1 Dec 2014
PM Showers
60°F / 30°F
 2 Dec 2014
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37°F / 33°F
 3 Dec 2014
PM Showers
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Partly Cloudy
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 5 Dec 2014
42°F / 35°F
 6 Dec 2014
Partly Cloudy
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 7 Dec 2014
Mostly Sunny
46°F / 35°F

Child & Family Services

Our Vision:
Catholic Charities Child and Family Services will be a National model of a fully-integrated system of innovative, effective, state-of-the-art programs that assists children, adults and families to achieve their full potential.

Our Mission:
Catholic Charities Child and Family Services provides an integrated, state-of-the-art, comprehensive system of care that includes: child welfare; delinquency diversion; behavioral health; special education; and early-childhood and family-development services that assist children, adults and families to achieve their full potential.

Our Values:
Respect Partnership Knowledge Excellence Diversity Data-driven
Cherishing the Divine Within