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Project SEEK (Harford County FY18 - Annual)

Program Summary

Project S.E.E.K. (Services to Empower and Enable Kids) intends to reduce intergenerational incarceration.  It is designed to impact the risk and protective factors associated with delinquency and criminal behavior at both the individual and family levels.  Project S.E.E.K. draws on prior experience with prevention programming and incorporates aspects of infant mental health programming; problem solving, social skills training, substance abuse prevention, violence prevention and conflict resolution curricula. The comprehensive program has four major program components: home visits, advocacy and referral, support groups and facilitating child-inmate communication.  

Target Population

The program targets children and youth ages 5-16 years of age with a parent who is incarcerated or has a history of incarceration in Harford County.  Services are also provided to the child’s guardian/caregiver.  Families will be assessed when referred to the program.  Families can self-refer or referrals can come from any agency, such as school personnel, Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Services, Legal Aid, Circuit Court of Harford County, Kinship Navigator program, State’s Attorney’s Office and case managers from Parenting Inside Out program.       


Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
% Change
Story Behind the Curve

More than 5 million children, or one in 14, in the U.S. have had a parent in state or federal prison at some point in their lives, according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Research has shown these children have experienced trauma from the sudden separation of their parent, history of anxiety, depression, anger, sadness and guilt.  Often times, the children are moved from one caregiver to another or into the foster care system.  These children tend to exhibit higher rates of behavioral problems, delinquency, poor academic performance, and the risk of intergenerational incarceration.  The National Research Council states that families are impacted financially, especially if the father is incarcerated.  They are more likely to be homeless and seek public assistance for unmet basic needs.  This program address three prioritzed results:  Children are Successful in School; Communities are Safe for Children, Youth and Families; and Families are Safe and Economically Stable.  Data from 2015 shows that 3,196 children in Harford County had a parent in state prison or under community supervision.  

The percentage of reconviction rates for youth released from a committed program after a year has decreased from 23% in 2010 to 16.7% in 2015 in Maryland.  Harford County's rate has also decreased from 26.3% in 2010 to 16.1% in 2015.  However, the re-arrest rate increased from 35.7% in 2014 to 45.2% in 2015, which is contrary to the state where the rate was 45.7% in 2014 and decreased to 44.1% in 2015.  The youth recidivism rate is also higher than the County's detention center.  The three year recidivism rate is 36.9%.  


  • Harford County Public School System - over 14 schools in the County have referred families to Project SEEK.  Project SEEK staff has attended meetings, such as IEPs, 504-plans, to support families.
  • Harford Community Action Agency - provide housing support, food pantry, food stamps, etc. for families 
  • Referrals have come from several agencies in the County, including Department of Social Services, Harford County Teen Court, Harford County Mobile Crisis, families, Local Care Team, Harford County Detention Center, and faith-based communties.  
Local Highlight

Project SEEK assisted 4 families dealing with homelessness, with a total of 12 children seeking services form the Harford Family House.  The case management for these families included obtaining birth certificates, social security cards, children's school enrollment, referrals and advocacy efforts for other resources.  Project SEEK assisted in placing 4 mothers recently released from incarceration into Hudson Health Services Inpatient treatment, Daughter’s House and Char Hope.  Project SEEK weekly support groups assisted 45 children with services and field trips and participated in 2 service projects that included packing and delivering baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The Project Specialists attended 10 IEP meetings for students in Harford County Public schools, conducted over 15 visits between children and their incarcerated parents, attended 4 family involvement meetings at the Department of Social Services for parents who are in the  reunification stage with their children and for a child dealing with parental incarceration.  Project SEEK also provided court advocacy for 8 parents who are facing incarceration or dealing with incarceration.   

The program partnered with the following groups for services
-    Harford County Detention Center Chaplain to provide mentoring services to parents;
-    Harford County Detention Center’s First Female Substance Abuse Unit where a Project SEEK Program Specialist taught a 6 week reentry course; 
-    New Day Wellness to provide Peer to Peer group sessions;
-    Catholic Charities Early Head Start to provide parent group trainings to Project SEEK parents; 
-    Havre De Grace Housing Authority and the Success Project by being part of their quarterly PCC meetings as well as referring 2 families to their Families of Hope Campaign; and 
-    Mt. Zion Methodist Church volunteers who assisted with ICO’s after school program 3 times a week to tutor several of the Project SEEK students who attend the after school program. 

Data Discussion

The performance measures for "How Well Did We Do It" are at 0% for FY18 and FY19 since there were no families discharged from the program.  The data will be available in FY20.  

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