A Local Access Mechanism (LAM) plan (known locally as Systems of Care) offers intervention and support by providing access to services through the InfoAnneArundel.org website, the information and referral ‘warm’ line, family navigation and the Community Resource Initiative/Care Team (CRICT). The LAM targets children and families that have intensive behavioral, educational, developmental or mental health needs that cannot be met without extra assistance through a single point of access. By providing this assistance, children can be cared for in their families and will not need out-of-home placements to meet their needs. Families with less intensive needs can access information through a web based component and/or the information and referral line. All County Child serving agencies have representation on the CRICT Team (Care Team). The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County supplies flex dollars. The University of Maryland supplies a systems navigator. United Way of Central Maryland supplies a family navigator. Systems of Care (LAM) will receive continuing focus this year as the United Way Homeless prevention and diversion initiatives add intensive case management to existing services. Additionally, DSS contracts with the Partnership for Kinship Care which offers case management and support to relative caregivers.
Local Access Mechanism: Single Point of Access (IRL), Family Navigation
The rate of out of home care for the county has been decreasing. However, the numbers of families living below the poverty level has increased. Children need safe and stable homes in order to thrive. Family instability may pose substantial risks to children and may contribute to the need for children to be placed in alternative care. Out-of-home placements are used when less restrictive interventions have failed. According to the 2015 community needs assessment, families are struggling with basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter and the percentage of families below the poverty level is increasing. Additionally, the number of families living in cars or motel rooms has risen steeply. There is almost no affordable housing in the county. According to 2014 data, the waiting list for county public housing is closed, vouchers are frozen and the city public housing list is over 2,000. An increasing number of homeless families, or those at risk for homelessness, are cycling through family navigation and the Local Care Team (CRICT.) According to AACPS, almost a thousand youth in Anne Arundel County are without a permanent home.