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Carroll County Youth Service Bureau takes step toward funding building expansion

The Carroll County Youth Services Bureau is taking steps to expand their current building and continue providing mental health and other services to their growing number of clients.

At Thursday’s meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved a request from the department of citizen services to apply for the fiscal year 2022 Community Development Block Grant Special Projects funding in the amount of $35,005 to pay for a feasibility study for construction of additional clinical services and staff space for the Youth Service Bureau, located at 59 Kate Wagner Road in Westminster.

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The bureau has provided outpatient mental health services in Carroll County since 1972 and has grown into a multi-disciplinary behavioral health organization that offers a wide range of outpatient treatment and prevention services designed to support children, adolescents, transition-age youth, adults and families

In FY 2021, the agency served 979 cases with 65.8% of clients receiving Medicaid, the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income individuals and families, according to a meeting document.

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Due to the current facility’s insufficient space for several programs to operate at maximum efficiency and the need to expand services, the agency is seeking funding under CDBG’s Special Projects application to conduct a feasibility study.

The study will determine the amount of land necessary to construct a 10,000 square foot addition onto the current building.

The Youth Service Bureau building is located on county property directly adjacent to the Robert Moton Elementary School. Carroll County Public Schools has expressed formal support for the expansion effort. Upon the study’s findings, CCPS has also formally expressed a willingness to consider transferring a portion of the school property for the bureau’s use.

Lynn Davis, executive director of the Youth Service Bureau, told the commissioners that several public commenters were present, all of whom are associated with the Assertive Community Treatment Program and the Connecting Youth Program.

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Both services will be housed in this proposed addition, she said.

“Substance abuse and mental illness affects more families than we care to believe,” Patrick Scheper, president of the bureau’s board of directors, shared. “I’m excited to be here for the next stage in our expansion of much needed facilities that will pave the way for continued growth in the indispensable services available to our community.”

Julie Anton, assistant program director for the Assertive Community Treatment Team, said they are currently serving 94 clients, approaching the capacity of 100 clients allowed by the state. As a result, the group is in the process of developing a mobile treatment team “in order to continue providing these services.”

The ACT Team currently has 19 staff members who share a space, she said, pointing out they’ve now run out of room in the overcrowded building.

“Having this new space would allow us to offer more support, employment development and any other service which would help clients be more successful in the community,” Anton noted.

Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said he is proud of the work the agency is doing.

“If all of us could have only a thimble worth of the courage and passion you demonstrate, we would be a better place,” he said.

“I cannot emphasis enough to the public how vitally important this is to the future success of our community,” Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, said, adding the program helps to set juvenile offenders on the right path.

“I absolutely love what you do and I want to do everything I can to support you,” he said.

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