Maryland Implementation Project

The Maryland Department of Human Resources/Social Services Administration (DHR/SSA) received technical assistance from ACCWIC to conduct pilot implementation of Youth Matter (YM), a youth engagement initiative to improve permanency outcomes for older youth. YM aims to increase the number of youth who transition to adulthood with lifelong connections and the skills to be self-sufficient. To ensure active consideration of their perspectives, this initiative has prominently included youth in policy and practice development and implementation.

During 2011, a youth engagement practice model was designed and approved. From the start of the change initiative, youth were meaningfully involved in the model’s design and later in related training and pilot implementation activities. By the end of 2011, YM’s two pilot implementation sites (three counties on Maryland’s Lower Shore and Prince George’s County) had progressed from the installation phase to initial implementation. They had hosted stakeholder outreach events, launched workforce training in the YM practice model, and jointly convened to discuss lessons learned in readiness and implementation. To guide statewide rollout, SSA developed a work plan grounded in implementation science constructs.

Highlights include:

  1. using lessons and peer support from the pilot sites,

  2. integrating YM with other practice improvement efforts,

  3. reinforcing practice development at the front line, and

  4. using data to inform ongoing implementation and practice development.