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Emmitsburg Community Center
300-A South Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727


CASS History

Community Agency School Services (CASS) is a collaborative outreach program of Frederick County, Maryland, Public Schools. CASS offers comprehensive and integrated services for families with children birth to 18 years of age. The goals of CASS are (1) to facilitate interagency collaboration and cooperation among schools, private and public agencies, communities, and families; (2) to emphasize prevention and early intervention to improve the lives of families in Frederick County; and, (3) to provide integrated, coordinated, family focused case management services to families and children in need.

CASS began in 1991 when the directors of various public agencies (Frederick County Public Schools, Frederick County Department of Social Services, Frederick County Government Citizens’

Services, Frederick County Health Department: Nursing Services, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, and Frederick County Department of Juvenile Justice), as well as local government representatives, met to look at how to better meet the needs of families in Frederick County.

During this time, the model of CASS was conceived. Initial funding was provided through grants from the Carnegie Foundation and the Maryland State Department of Education. The Brunswick Area was selected as the initial site for CASS due to its rural surroundings and relative isolation.

As a result of the success of the initial Brunswick pilot program, CASS has expanded over the last 12 years to include eight sites, located in each of the school feeder areas of Frederick County Public Schools. Interagency Coordinators partner with schools, agencies, and organizations to offer affordable and accessible services to better meet the needs of families right in their local communities. Half of all CASS sites are located in free space provided directly by local municipalities; the other half of CASS sites are located in local schools, helping forge a close partnership between communities, schools, and CASS.

CASS Coordinators provide case management services to families, develop programs to meet community needs, and serve as liaisons between Frederick County Public Schools and local communities. CASS’ target population consists of families with children from birth to 18 years of age who are at risk due to issues such as chronic illness, neglect/abuse, emotional and behavior problems, financial difficulties, or academic problems. Through increased community partnerships and collaboration, families receive a wide variety of services - such as counseling, after school programs, health clinics, and DSS outreach services - often right in their local community.

Referrals to CASS come largely from the school system, public agencies, private providers, physicians, therapists, local police, or through self-referrals.

CASS is a unique, collaborative interagency model that demonstrates how schools, agencies, communities, and local governments can work together to set up community-based services that more efficiently and effectively meet the needs of families and children.

Current Overview:

  • Currently there are 9 CASS sites serving all 9 FCPS Feeder Areas
  • 10 CASS Coordinators provide a wide range of community-based services and resources to families with children 0-18 years of age
  • All CASS Coordinators hold Masters Degrees in Social Work and are licensed and certified to practice social work in the state of Maryland
  • CASS, through the Network for School Readiness and Success Grant, has 3.5 Family Service Workers from Way Station, Inc. outstationed to serve families at 5 CASS sites
  • CASS served 715 families - 850 FCPS students – during 2002-2003
  • CASS responded to over 1700 information and referral requests during 2002-2003
  • CASS operates its services on an annual budget of about $6,000/site ($48,000 total, not including salaries) received from the Frederick County Commissioners
  • 250 students were assisted through partnerships with community agencies
  • CASS facilitated 22 school and community groups for students and their families.

CASS is the only program in Frederick County that:

  • is located in each school community
  • works with local governments, agencies, and schools to develop programs and resources to meet identified needs within every school feeder area
  • has barrier-free access to services, with no restrictions or time limits on working with all members of a family
  • brings together churches, organizations, businesses, schools, governments, and families to address community needs
  • provides a doorway into the schools and communities to facilitate outstationing of services by other agencies
  • has partnerships with a wide range of agencies to provide affordable and available services to families with children (e.g., Brook Lane Health Services, Behavioral Health Partners, Catholic Charities, Mental Health Association, Community Action Agency, JTA, Frederick County Health Department, Department of Social Services, Head Start, Heartly House, Way Station, graduate and undergraduate interns)

In 1999, CASS was recognized by participants in OCF Focus Groups as the top response when asked "What family service programs are working in your community?" and "What groups are particularly active and effective in your community?"

In 2004, CASS won the National Civic Star Award, presented by the American Association of School Administrators, and Sodexho School Services. CASS competed with 134 school districts in 35 states to win the $10,000 prize. The award is given annually to a program that promotes academic achievement through successful school-community partnerships. CASS was honored and presented with the check at the March 10, 2004, Frederick County School Board meeting.