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Carroll County seeking coronavirus relief funding from governor’s office for police, courts, youth services

Carroll County Government hopes to tap into a $10 million pot of emergency coronavirus relief funds being offered by the state to benefit law enforcement, youth and victim services.

The Board of County Commissioners on Thursday voted to apply for nearly $373,000 in funding from the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services. The $10.5 million in new federal funding comes to Maryland from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, according to an Aug. 27 news release from the governor’s crime prevention office.

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Debby Standiford, grants manager for the county, said counties and nonprofits across the state are eligible for this competitive grant. “It’s a wide array of folks that could apply,” she said.

The Boys and Girls Club of Westminster would use about $100,000 of the funding to buy computers and hire part-time staff to provide educational support to students, according to Corey Hardinger, manager of the county’s Local Management Board, which submitted the application on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club.

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Hardinger said the club’s aging computers can’t keep up with the demands of virtual learning, and they’d like to purchase 25 desktop computers and 30 Chromebooks. The need for staff stems from a gap left by McDaniel College students. Students are discouraged, though not prohibited, from leaving campus during the pandemic, according to a McDaniel spokesperson.

Together We Own It, another local nonprofit, serves youth through the Rise Up Community Center in Westminster. It is requesting about $45,600 to serve youth ages 0 to 24, and their families, who have or are at risk for behavioral health concerns or adverse childhood experiences, Hardinger said. At least nine agencies and organizations will work together on a virtual platform to provide case management, education, mentoring, advocacy and support. The county Department of Citizen Services will provide the virtual platform, for which it is requesting $10,000 from the state.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced some agencies to shutter their doors, the employees of the Youth Services Bureau continues to serve children and their families virtually. Hardinger said the bureau has found clinicians are spending several hours a day trying to navigate their telehealth platforms. Forty-nine clinicians serve 2,900 individuals and their families annually through the bureau, according to Hardinger.

“None of these clinicians are IT (information technology) experts. They weren’t trained in technology. That’s not their expertise, so the agency really has a need for a point person within the agency that therapists, staff, clinicians can go to” for IT support, Hardinger said. To remedy this, the Youth Services Bureau is requesting about $45,600 for staff to assist with virtual services.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office seeks $150,000 in funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. Vicky McDonold of the Sheriff’s Office said they’re planning for the next 15 to 18 months.

“It is critical that we have more than enough on hand,” she said.

Judge Fred Hecker made the case for Carroll County Circuit Court to receive nearly $21,500 for PPE and supplies. A large portion of the funds would be used for the courthouse generally, but a smaller part will supply drug treatment court and family law administration. Hecker expects an “influx” in visitors to the courthouse once jury trials are permitted to begin Oct. 5. Bailiffs stationed at the courthouse entrance have been screening guests with COVID-19 questions and ensuring each person who enters has their temperature read by a no-contact device.

As the grant is competitive, Standiford does not know if Carroll County will receive the exact funds it requests, though she hopes the county will learn of its award in the next month. An added benefit to the funding is that it can be used through 2021, she said.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect McDaniel College’s policy for students working off-campus.

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