Catholic Charities Child & Family Services

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Catholic Charities Child & Family Services



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.

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!

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


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.

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!

VMCR Brings Parent Child Interaction Therapy to Baltimore County

A team from Villa Maria Community Resource's Behavioral Health Clinic in Timonium was recently trained in a very promising evidenced based practice aimed at supporting healthy attachments and discipline practices between parents and children 3-7 years old who have moderate to severe behavior problems. Each member of the team, shown here with their Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) trainers (who are in the front row) successfully passed the rigorous fidelity tests during the 5 days of training at University of MD Innovations Institute. 
PCIT is effective in decreasing behavior problems in youth and increasing parental confidence and competence in dealing with even severe acting out.  These skilled practitioners use modern ear bud technology to coach parents from behind a one-way mirror and are able to show parents graphs of their progress as they use more and more of the prescribed relationship building and discipline methods during play sessions with their children. 
Congratulations to the PCIT practitioners shown from left to right in the second row:
Sara Ross, Bethany Woolford, Khadijah Javaid, Jenn Lochte, Jill Young


Behavioral Health Home Receives Accreditation From The Joint Commission

After months of hard work and preparation, the newly initiated Child & Family Services behavioral health home received accreditation by the Joint Commission on Friday Oct 3rd.
I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to the InHome Intervention team for their marvelous effort over the past several months as we implemented a new initiative; a Behavioral Health Home for Youth. 
With the help of Jan Carson and Anne Ober, our Joint Commission reviewer was clearly impressed with the commitment and competence of all of the IHIP-C team, which included Eileen Kavlich, Rodney Lee, Latia Suite, Erika Morgan, April Miller, Kysha Naylor, Crystal Ratliff, Michelle Poindexter, and Tjuan Lampkin.  Several times, she noted that our work was “cutting edge” and “ahead of the curve” nationally.
I echo the sentiment expressed by Kevin Mason, Assistant Director, Villa Maria Community Resources and the Health Home Director, to all of you and I quote;
Each of you have given of yourselves, time, and talent and have worked in such a very unswerving and conscientious manner without reserve! Phil Jackson tells us “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”  I am so humbled and honored to work for you and among you! I am so very grateful to belong to such an incredible group of competent, professional, and compassionate human beings! During the interview process on yesterday, I observed in awe the manner in which each of you spoke about the mission, the soul, and the essence of our work at Catholic Charities with genuine sensitivity and heartfelt passion”!       
I would like also to specifically acknowledge and extend my appreciation to Eileen Kavlich, our Nurse Care Manager , who has served a critical role with this initiative.  She has worked tirelessly to learn a new health home intervention model, integrate her expertise in somatic care with our skill development services, seamlessly join our inhome team, and nurture this program into fruition.
We will continue our work to expand the Health Home into three other programs over the next few months, including Lansdowne and Timonium therapeutic after school programs and the Baltimore Child and Adolescent Response System program.
Thanks again to all.
Robert Canosa, Ph.D.
Administrator, Villa Maria Community Resources

Villa Maria School

I had the opportunity to begin my day today attending the opening activities for the MANSEF Golf Outing at Greystone Golf Course. It was really great to see many of our kids from Villa Maria School enjoying themselves on the driving range getting lessons from the golf pro.  It was also very touching to watch one of our very own students, Bre’Asja, as she sang the National Anthem in front of a crowd of people to kickoff all of the activities.  Thanks to all of the staff who made this possible for the kids. I particularly want to thank Jack Steiner (our music teacher), who has really done some wonderful things with our music program.
Kevin Keegan
Director, Child and Family Services Division
Catholic Charities of Baltimore


LEAD Academy Reflection: September 2014

What a whirlwind month it has been.  The initial meet and greet session in August with my LEAD Fellows, where we were introduced to each other and to the Academy, was a wonderful kickoff event.   Quite honestly, I couldn’t believe that I was sitting at the same “round” table with people whose names I hear daily, associated with accomplishing fabulous things within our Agency.   Listening to their job descriptions, then listening to what they “really” do was a huge exercise in introspection.   Am I really as different as I thought I was?  Do people see me in the same light?  Could I possibly be as strong of a leader as I see many of them as?  And if I am, what a huge responsibility.  Would I be up to the task?
Meeting my mentor the same day was such a refreshing moment!  She was energetic, friendly and made me feel as if I wanted to talk to her.  Many of us had been nervous about these “forced” relationships but my nerves disappeared almost as soon as we were introduced.  She let me know that ours was a safe relationship, one where I could express my concerns and frustrations and that she would be there to offer honest opinions and reflection.  I remember driving home and calling my folks to tell them how excited I was about that aspect of the LEAD program, which were not necessarily the feelings at the beginning of the day. 

Our initial day on September 12thwas initially marked with a bit of sadness, as one of our classmates was not able to join us and he was missing the excitement of the day.  Accountants, therapists, housing colleagues, managers… all who knew nothing of each other than the signature at the bottom of an email prior to being accepted in the LEAD Academy, yet noticing immediately when one of us was missing from the room. The thought struck me: could we have been that close of a group already? The thought was mind boggling to me.  

Sadness soon gave way to excitement as the welcoming ceremonies went underway. Mari Pat McGuire asked the question of the day for me: “How did you feel walking into the opening ceremony?”  Nervous?  No.  Anxious?  No.  I was proud.  Proud to have been chosen to be a part of the LEAD Academy for the year.  Proud that my supervisor had the faith in me to support my application and the time that LEAD will take me away from the program in order to further my own learning.  Proud that the Agency has the belief in me to want to help nurture my leadership skills.  And proud of myself for accepting the challenge,  because I truly do think it is a challenge, but one that I am looking forward to taking head on with the support of my Fellows and facilitators. 
I truly think it is going to be a wonderful year!
Kelly Anderson
Kelly is a Manager of Client Services at Sarah’s House and a Fellow in the LEAD Academy Class of 2015. At Sarah’s House, she supervises the program assistants and emergency shelter caseworkers and helps ensure that the shelter operates on a day to day basis. Additionally, she provides intensive case management for clients with and is responsible for the training of staff at the program and both data management systems that Sarah’s House uses (ETO and HMIS). Supporting her in the LEAD program, among others, are her supervisor, Kathryn Philliben, and her mentor, Jennifer Lochte, of the Child and Family Services Division.
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New Staff, Volunteers and Interns

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Anna Smith<br/>Therapist I<br/>VM BHC-AbingdonAudrey Risinger<br/>RN I<br/>SVV-DVDavid Carpenter<br/>Therapist 0 Based<br/>VM BHC-CCJoyce Crockett<br/>Housekeeper<br/>SVV-DVLisa Ojst<br/>Therapist I<br/>VM BHC-AA CountyShannon Fritz<br/>Therapist I<br/>VM BHC-Fallstaff


Current Forecast
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 6:44 am EDT
Partly Cloudy
High: 58°F
Low: 38°F
Sunrise  7:29 am
Sunset 6:06 pm
Humidity: 100 %
Visibility: 10 mi
Barometer: 30.03 in
 31 Oct 2014
Mostly Sunny
57°F / 43°F
 1 Nov 2014
52°F / 37°F
 2 Nov 2014
Mostly Sunny/Wind
48°F / 31°F
 3 Nov 2014
Mostly Sunny
57°F / 39°F
 4 Nov 2014
Partly Cloudy
63°F / 44°F
 5 Nov 2014
Mostly Cloudy
64°F / 48°F
 6 Nov 2014
Mostly Sunny
60°F / 42°F
 7 Nov 2014
56°F / 42°F
 8 Nov 2014
Partly Cloudy
57°F / 40°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