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Study Suggests Prince George's County Lacks Reunification Services

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By Rebecca Sheir

A new study suggests parents with children in foster care in Prince Georges County, Maryland, might not get the services they need to reunify their families.

A group called Advocates for Children and Youth, ACY, looked at 19 cases for the study.

Matthew Joseph, the group's executive director, says only a quarter of parents received court-ordered services, which he attributes to two things. The first is resistance,

"Parents suffering from mental illness or substance abuse treatment problems are reluctant to participate in the services that are ordered to them," says Joseph.

The second is lack of availability,

"Prince Georges County really needs extra funding to make sure the services are there," he says.

But Gloria Brown, interim director of the County's Department of Social Services, says the County already spends nearly half its available support services funds on these parents, and already invites them to play a role in selecting services. What's preventing access, she says, is lack of coordination.

"...between the parents and the Department, and the various service providers in the community."

The Department is scheduled to meet with ACY next week.

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