Md. Launches $25-M Youth Recovery Program

Maryland is forming a public-private partnership to help young people recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have included disruption caused by prolonged periods out of school.

Governor Larry Hogan said Thursday the initiative is known as Project Bounce Back. It includes several state agencies, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Microsoft, Linked-in Learning and others.

$25-million in CARES Act funding will support Project Bounce Back’s programs. They include six regional mental health crisis teams through the Maryland Department of Education with counselors, psychologists and experts to work with local school systems.

“As the governor, but also as a father and a grandfather, nothing breaks my heart more than to see what our children have suffered through over the past year, especially those kids who are growing up in underserved communities, and I refuse to just sit back and accept this as the status quo,” Hogan said. “The mission of this new initiative is to provide critical services to young people in need and to build post-COVID resilience among Maryland youth, families, and communities.”

“Students in Maryland and across the country have been impacted by the pandemic academically, physically, socially, and emotionally,” Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon said. “MSDE’s new regional mental health crisis teams will work closely with local school systems to connect students to needed emotional and social supports. We are pleased to be part of this exciting overall state partnership to prevent and address adverse childhood experiences. The effectiveness of our regional task force efforts will be bolstered by these evidence-based after school and summer programs and customized technology—all focused and working hand-in-hand to support the well-being and resilience of our youth across the state.”

Hogan also signed an executive order to make Maryland a national leader in working to address “Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACEs.