March 20, 2023

Council on Family Violence Expands to St. Mary’s County

Family Violence

Walden Behavioral Health is helping the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence expand its service area to help victims of family violence and sexual assault to St. Mary’s County.

Since 1980, the Mid-Shore Council has been providing a comprehensive, client-driven program that addresses the diverse challenges impacting the lives of victims of family violence in Maryland’s Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. The council works to meet the changing and growing needs of victims, developing programs and engaging partners to expand the network of support available to help victims on their Journeys of Strength. Starting July 1, all of these services will be available to victims of family violence and sexual assault in St. Mary’s County.

“We were so honored when the leadership of Walden Sierra asked us to bring our services to the citizens of St. Mary’s County,” said Jeanne Yeager, executive director of MSCFV. “For four decades, we’ve been helping victims as they take their journey to self-sufficiency and self-empowerment. We are excited to bring our model programs and services across the bridge to assist other victims as they work to create a safe and healthy future for themselves and their families.”

When asked why MSCFV was the best organization to take on this work in St. Mary’s County, Walden Sierra CEO Kathleen O’Brien said: “As the leader of one of the first agencies providing domestic violence and sexual assault services in Maryland, my highest priority was to ensure that the citizens of St. Mary’s County would be well taken care of as we pass the torch. The Mid-Shore Council is an exemplary organization that will not only deliver the same quality services, but will enhance them! I have had the honor of being a colleague of Jeanne Yeager for decades, and I am confident in her leadership and commitment to our community.”

Emergency shelters, economic empowerment, and safety planning are only three pieces of the continuum of care that MSCFV will bring to St. Mary’s County.

“The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention are pleased to support the work of the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence as it expands its services into St. Mary’s County,” said Glenn Fueston, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. “Our office has a long history of collaboration with the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence. Not only does this organization provide invaluable resources to empower people who survive traumatic circumstances on the Eastern Shore, but Jeanne Yeager has served as a member of both the Family Violence Council and the Maryland State Board of Victim Services. Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence is a true partner in helping achieve Governor Larry Hogan’s vision for a safer Maryland.”

Statistics from the FBI show that in 2016, there were 893 reported domestically related crimes and 28 rapes reported in St. Mary’s County. Research has shown that more incidents likely were never reported. In 2018, MSCFV served 484 victims of family violence and 761 children in Maryland’s Mid-Shore region. In its first 24 months, MSCFV’s Economic Empowerment Center represented 164 victims in a total of 238 legal cases, which then resulted in $181,121 total lump sum benefits and savings for victims, and $16,483 in total monthly child support and family maintenance. Among clients completing stays at MSCFV’s shelter, 86 percent of clients said that they have learned more ways to plan for their safety, 72 percent feel less isolated and 69 percent feel better about themselves. The majority of clients surveyed say they have a better understanding of their legal rights and 93 percent have learned about resources that can help them.

Important Facts:

● Starting July 1, victims of family violence and sexual assault in St. Mary’s County can call a local hotline to connect with MSCFV’s trained counselors 24/7.

● MSCFV’s comprehensive care model includes hotline services, emergency shelter, ongoing case management, counseling and mental health services, immigration services, legal services (including protective orders and divorce), basic victims’ needs, housing and housing supports, economic empowerment, translation, pet safety, support groups, community outreach, and awareness.

● With the Economic Empowerment Program, MSCFV provides legal support for bankruptcy, debtor/creditor, taxes, child support/custody, motor vehicle administration, expungement, landlord/tenant, employment, and protective order modifications.

● MSCFV will recruit local attorneys to participate in its reduced fee panel and represent clients in protective order, custody, divorce, and economic-related cases like bankruptcy, credit repair, debt restructuring, landlord/tenant, etc.

● MSCFV will provide abuser intervention services in St. Mary’s County to help address the ongoing cycle of violence.

Anyone who is in a violent relationship and wants help, can contact the Eastern Shore hotline at 1-800-927-4673 anytime. For more information on the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, visit the organization’s website or call 410-690-3222.

For more information about Walden Behavioral Health visit its Leader member page.

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