Budget Year / Version:


Montgomery County is committed to creating a supportive, violence-free community for children, youth and families where young people are valued, treated with dignity and given opportunities to realize their full potential. The County and its partners are responding to the urgent need to reach out to support youth who are faced with challenges including gang involvement, poverty, and pressure to engage in risky behaviors. The methods used to respond to these challenges include positive youth development and gang intervention and suppression. Multiple agencies throughout the County are working actively together to engage youth and families positively and to prevent and address youth violence and gang activity.


  • Children Prepared to Live and Learn
  • Healthy and Sustainable Communities
  • Safe Streets and Secure Neighborhoods


Contact Gabriel Albornoz of the Department of Recreation at 240.777.6800 or Joshua Watters of the Office of Management and Budget at 240.777.2768 for more information regarding this initiative's operating budget.


In December 2006, County Executive Isiah Leggett articulated a new vision for focusing on the issues of gang activity and youth violence based on the fact that gang crime and activity are more pronounced in specific locations in the County. This new vision also called for new efforts to encompass a broader cross-discipline approach for positive youth development rather than strictly gang prevention.

Major accomplishments of this Initiative include:

Excel Beyond the Bell (EBB): EBB was launched as a pilot program in FY12 to address gaps in high quality out-of-school opportunities at the middle school level. The program is a collaborative effort created to inspire our youth to realize their full potential by offering safe, quality, and accessible after-school programs that are designed to increase interest in exploration, build positive relationships, increase school connectedness, and promote positive pro-social behaviors. The program now operates in 8 middle schools in targeted communities and enrolls over 1,700 young people each year. Since its inception, this program has served over 8,000 students.

TeenWorks: Launched in FY13 as the Summer Teen Employment Program (STEP), this initiative quickly evolved to one of the County's premier year-round youth workforce development programs. TeenWorks is a job readiness and learn-to-work program geared toward vulnerable youth who are not yet equipped to enter the workforce alone. It bridges critical out-of-school time (OOST) opportunities with employment, preventing students from having to make the hard decision between OOST programs that promote positive growth and development and working to alleviate financial stress and strain. Participants leave TeenWorks with financial literacy and employability skills. Since its inception, it has employed almost 400 young people.

Food, Fun, and Fitness: This program, initiated in FY15, is a drop-in summer program for young people 18 and under that combines access to nutrition with physical activity. It serves young people who would otherwise be home alone during summer months and serves as a critical safety net to address issues such as food insecurity, social isolation, and physical and psychological well-being. The program helps to relieve financial stress and strain providing an immediate economic impact for families. Families taking full advantage of meals served during summer months alone can expect an economic benefit of a six-week summer program serving breakfast and lunch. Since its beginning, Food, Fun, and Fitness has served almost 1,500 young people and has served over 70,000 meals and snacks to vulnerable youth.

RecZone: Launched as "Sports Academy" in FY 2008, this program is specifically designed for high school adolescents whose drive for independence and vulnerable self-concept make it essential to engage with them during critical after-school hours (2pm-6pm). RecZone helps to bridge a connection between school and out-of-school supports, opportunities, and services through a variety of structured and self-determined activities. Located in 5 high schools, RecZone averages over 130 students daily per site and has enrolled over 20,000 high school students since its inception.

Teen Writing Clubs: Since 2010, library branches throughout the County have offered ongoing writing clubs for teens aged 13 to 18. These young writers meet as a group and share their writing with one another to receive constructive feedback in a supportive environment. These clubs are facilitated by members of the Maryland Writers' Association and the participants get the opportunity to meet authors and other writers. In 2014, a member of the Marilyn J. Praisner Teen Writers' Club published a novel, "Remember Me."

Police Cadet Program: In the Fall of 2016, the Montgomery County Police Department reinstituted the Police Cadet Program. This program focuses on young, college-aged adults, who are considering a career in law enforcement and assists those who might not have the financial means to pursue the requisite college course work by providing temporary, part-time employment as participants work within the police department and gain firsthand knowledge of County law enforcement functions. This has allowed the department to reach out to residents who might have been missed through conventional recruiting methods like college fairs. There are currently eight slots for participants in the program, and the Department has hired three of the cadets who are now attending the police academy.

Youth Opportunity Centers: Established in 2006 with the creation of the Crossroads Youth Opportunity Center in Takoma Park, and expanded in 2008 with the creation of the UpCounty Youth Opportunity Center in Gaithersburg, Youth Opportunity Centers provide culturally-based and evidence-informed trauma and healing services. Specific services provided include, GED preparation, mental health counseling, and workforce readiness programming and referrals to WorkSource Montgomery for youth at-risk of gang involvement or at-risk of dropping out of school. In FY16 these centers served 432 youth, and since the program began, approximately 3,500 youths have been served.

Street Outreach Network: The mission of the Street Outreach Network (SON) is to prevent, neutralize, and manage hostile behavior in the highest-risk youth and communities through the development of positive relationships between youth, community stakeholders, and outreach workers. SON engages with youth through development programs and leisure time activities to redirect antisocial and aggressive behaviors. Since being established in 2007, this program has grown from 1 manager to a team of 11 full-time staff responding to the needs of youth Countywide through planned activities. On average, 80 percent of this program's clients are neither arrested nor suspended from school after participating. In FY16, SON served approximately 600 youth, and has served over 4,000 since its inception.

High School Wellness Centers: Beginning in 2007 with the creation of the Northwood High School Wellness Center, this program helps students reach their full potential by offering coordinated medical care, quality counseling, positive youth development, and health education in a confidential and culturally-sensitive manner. In addition to the Northwood Center, the County operates three additional High School Wellness Centers (Watkins Mill, Gaithersburg, and Wheaton). In FY16, 1,305 students were served at the wellness centers, and since 2008 over 7,300 students have been served.

Truancy Prevention Program: The County began funding the Truancy Prevention Program in the State's Attorney's Office in FY13. It is an early intervention program that aims to improve attendance of middle school children in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) by discovering the root causes of truancy and assisting students and their families with issues that impact attendance. It is a voluntary program designed to keep children in school and families out of court. This program is now in 20 schools and has served 787 students through FY16.

Safe Space Program: With approximately $475,000 in funding allocated to this new program in FY18, the Safe Space Program fills both a geographic need and a gap in services by offering highest-risk youth access to resources and services to prevent them from engaging in violent or criminal behavior. In addition, this program will focus on improving community safety by strengthening community leadership to address violence, and helping to strengthen the sustainability of County gang prevention efforts. This program will operate four centers (East County, Germantown, Montgomery Village, and Wheaton) in the County on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm to Midnight. Services provided will include behavioral health services, grief counseling, job readiness training, and leisure activities. Furthermore, key community stakeholders will be trained in culturally-based and evidence-informed practices to provide them with the skill sets necessary to address violence in their neighborhoods.


The FY18 Approved Budget includes approximately $25.1 million in tax-supported resources identified for the Positive Youth Development Initiative (PYDI). In addition, the budget includes almost $300,000 in non-tax supported resources for positive youth development.

Department of Health and Human Services
  • Add funds to support full-year service enhancements for youth at-risk of gang violence ($305,403).
  • Creation of the Safe Space Program within the Street Outreach Network at four locations in the County to provide critical services to highest risk youth ($474,238).
Department of Police
  • Add five officers to the 6th District Police Station to focus on gang activity in the Montgomery Village area ($290,521).
  • Add two officers for the new Community Outreach Division ($229,253).
Department of Recreation
  • Annualize Excel Beyond the Bell at Francis Scott Key Middle School ($42,806).
  • Expand Food Fun and Fitness/TeenWorks summer program ($150,000).
  • Expand the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary School program (formerly Dream Academy) to two additional elementary school locations for five days a week. In addition, expand the programming at South Lake Elementary School from four to five days a week ($712,662).
  • Increase funding for Collaboration Council for EBB due to changing priorities of Governors Office for Children ($100,000).
  • Added contractor expense to develop East County sports league ($11,700).
  • In partnership with the Department of Technology Services, enhance a wide variety of information technology opportunities at after school programs ($50,000).
WorkSource Montgomery
  • Add funds to support the Summer Youth STEM Career Exploration program, R.I.S.E. (Real Interesting Summer Experience), to provide rising high school juniors and seniors with enriching summer career development experiences ($90,000).


The Positive Youth Development Initiative is a comprehensive response to the problems of children and youth exposed to trauma, gangs, and youth violence in the County, and reflects the commitment by the County to an approach that includes prevention, intervention, and suppression components. The Initiative's priorities serve to enhance existing approaches and services, and ensure the County's ability to respond to emerging trends and challenges utilizing culturally-competent and evidence-based approaches.

The leadership of these efforts is provided by the Director of Health and Human Services, the Director of Recreation, the Chief of Police, along with key members of the County Executive's staff, Public Libraries, Correction and Rehabilitation, MCPS, the State's Attorney's Office, and community leaders. Work continues in the areas of suppression and enforcement, outreach and education, violence prevention, and deterrence.

The Initiative also includes multiple efforts to strengthen out-of-school time programming throughout the County. The Montgomery County Collaboration Council, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Recreation, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Montgomery College, MCPS, and many other key partners are working together to address quality, to assess needs, to unify funding approaches, and to develop shared program approaches and outcomes. These efforts will result in the increase of programs and support for the youth of the County. In addition, many of the Health and Human Services PYDI programs provide opportunities for children and youth to heal from trauma and utilize trauma-informed, evidence-based curriculums accordingly.

Services benefiting County youth are incorporated in the general department program offerings as well as targeted services. These projects respond to multiple critical needs facing the County at this time and the desired outcomes of addressing trauma, reducing gang violence and crime, and promoting youth success and development. Below are some of the major County Government programs currently supporting County youth:

Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Crossroads Youth Opportunity Center and the UpCounty Youth Opportunity Center provide a wide array of culturally-based, trauma-informed intervention support services for high-risk youth, youth who seek to exit gang life, youth engaged in juvenile delinquency and criminal activity, and violence prevention services.
  • The Identity After-School Program provides after school programming to serve at-risk Latino youth in middle and high schools.
  • The Maryland Multicultural Youth Center provides case management, GED preparation, job readiness development, and after school programs to high-risk youth.
  • High School Based Wellness Centers provide school-based, culturally-based, and trauma- and healing-informed positive youth development services such as after school activities, job readiness, academic support, trauma-informed mental health services, parent support groups, leadership development, truancy reduction, substance abuse prevention, and other health related services. The High School Based Wellness Centers are located at Watkins Mill, Northwood, Gaithersburg, and Wheaton High Schools.
  • The Street Outreach Network (SON) provides culturally-based, trauma- and healing-informed, evidence-based gang and youth violence intervention services, conflict management services, and recreational and leisure activities. In addition, the SON offers wellness and nutrition programs, after school services to elementary, middle, and high school youth groups, job readiness and workforce referrals to WorkSource Montgomery, and community-based projects that engage youth and young adults in life-affirming activities, the Safe Space Program, and support services to youth and young adults returning to the community after incarceration or detention. The SON also provides transformational healing for children and youth impacted by trauma and/or violence in collaboration with Adolescent Behavioral Health Services, Kennedy and Watkins Mill Cluster Initiatives, and faith-based groups.
  • Asian American Leadership, Empowerment and Development for Youth and Family Program provides after school enrichment programs and mentoring to students at four middle schools and two high schools.
  • The Street Outreach Network continues to focus its intervention services throughout the County especially targeting the Montgomery Village, Germantown, Damascus, Wheaton, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Briggs Chaney, and Long Branch communities.
  • Six Street Outreach Staff have been trained and certified in evidence- and culturally-based, trauma-informed curriculums, and eight Street Outreach Staff have been trained and recertified as Professional Community Intervention Specialists.
  • Conservation Corps provides job, education, and life skills training for out-of-school and unemployed County youth ages 17 to 24.
Department of Recreation
  • RecZones provide direct leadership during the critical after-school hours for five high schools, including Einstein, Kennedy, Montgomery Blair, Springbrook, and Watkins Mill, which serve students throughout the school year. The program offers structured, semi-structured, and self-directed opportunities customized to meet the needs of students entering middle adolescence, where voice, choice, and perceived freedom are critical to retention. Programming ranges from sports, arts, job readiness and college exploration, and community services to leadership development.
  • Excel Beyond the Bell Program (EBB), a partnership among Recreation, the Montgomery County Collaboration Council, and MCPS, is offered at eight locations four days a week from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EBB offers a structure designed to increase school engagement through concentrated and expanded programming which includes: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), sports, a variety of dance and arts programs, Youth Advisory Council (YAC), a hot dinner, and delayed after school transportation.
  • Launched in January 2017, the EBB Elementary Initiative (formerly referred to as Dream Academy) offers programs at four elementary school locations in FY18 to promote early student success and establish a continuum of out-of-school time engagement. All sites will operate for two hours after the school day, three sites will operate five days a week, and one site will operate four days a week.
  • Rec Extra expands the capacity of extra-curricular and after school opportunities for middle school students. Programs are customized to each school and operate from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 13 middle schools. These programs offer sports, STEM, yoga, hip-hop dance, art, certified babysitting training, cooking, and other activities.
  • Teen Events provides after-hour teen programming at several community recreation centers that are spread out among five regions. The program partners with Identity and HHS Street Outreach Network to reach underserved and disconnected youth. Events include: Teen Cafés, as well as special events such as Futsal tournaments, Spring Break Basketball tournaments, Summer Basketball tournaments, leadership development through sports, Teen Talent Show, college tours, and service learning opportunities.
  • Summer Teen Programs offer opportunities for young people during the summer and has partnered with Identity, Linkages to Learning, Hispanic Business Foundation, KID Museum, MCPS and the Community Foundation, to provide a wide variety of outreach and programming including teen summer programs and programming for disconnected children and children in economically challenged communities.
  • TeenWorks is the Department's comprehensive youth workforce development initiative, which offers experiential learning and job readiness training in financial literacy, job etiquette, teamwork, and communication leadership for disadvantaged youth in school ages 15 to 19 years. Through work teams and apprenticeships, TeenWorks provides young people with on-the-job training through a wide range of work experiences including parks & recreation, conservation, environmental science, community non-profit work, and local government. Program partners include the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, MCPS, Montgomery Parks, National Park Service, Health and Human Services, KID Museum, and Hispanic Business Foundation.
  • Professional development and training initiatives for all our frontline workers and community partners that include: Advancing Youth Development; Youth Program Quality Intervention; Developmental Assets; Youth Program Quality Methods (series); Behavior Management; Youth Mental Health First Aid; Bullying Awareness and Prevention; Professional Competencies of Youth Workers; and Person First/Disability Characteristics.
  • Mobile Recreation is a program designed to improve well being and reduce barriers to health by targeting school communities with high FARMS rates. The program combines structured physical activity and play with the Summer Food Service Program, ensuring that any young person 18 and under has the opportunity to be active and has access to nutrition. Program partners include MCPS and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
  • Formerly housed with the Department of Technology Services, the ultraMontgomery Youth Coding program, a multi-agency, multi-departmental initiative, provides training, mentoring, and equipment support to create opportunities for young people in Montgomery County to learn computer coding, game design, and similar Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills. Through these opportunities, the County intends to encourage and support youth to explore STEM-related careers. Special emphasis will be placed on providing outreach, recruitment, and education to attract disadvantaged youth, girls, and communities under-represented in STEM careers.
Department of Police
  • Responding and combating criminal gang activity in Montgomery County through the Centralized Gang Task Force, which includes the gathering of intelligence, surveillance and investigations, street enforcement, and educating the public and other governmental agencies on gang activity.
  • Provide one School Resource Officer (SRO) for each public high school to assist school staff in maintaining safety of the schools and serving as a liaison between the Montgomery County Police Department and MCPS officials for school and police related concerns and incidents. The SRO serves to deter and prevent acts of school violence and gang activity while also fostering positive relationships between the County's youth and the police.
  • Provide one Community Services Officer for each of the six police districts to address long-term problem solving issues, including Neighborhood Watch, Community Outreach, CRIMEREPORTS.com, day to day citizen questions, station web sites, National Night Out events, community presentations, and neighborhood/homeowner association meetings. These officers provide community outreach and community relations.

Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
  • Detention Services provides a General Educational Development (GED) and High School Diploma Program which graduates participants with family attendance; manages the Gang Management Program which primarily involves youthful offenders; offers the Model Learning Center Education Program for intensive Adult Basic Education, GED, English as a Second Language, and Computer Skill Literacy; and provides a Dedicated Youthful Offender Housing Unit focusing on life skills, positive youth development, and education.
  • Refer young Latino residents under the supervision of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation to the Latin American Youth Center for GED programming and other services.
Office of the State's Attorney
  • Prosecute gang-related crimes through five Assistant State's Attorneys. These attorneys work with one full-time and two part-time investigators who screen all cases, maintain a database to track trends and conduct analyses of gang-related cases. The Assistant State's Attorneys work closely with the Police Department and neighboring jurisdictions to reduce gang-related activity.
  • Address the root causes of truancy through a collaborative effort with the State's Attorney's Office, MCPS, parents and other partners called the Truancy Prevention Program. Through positive one-on-one interaction with students, this 10-week early intervention program identifies why children are either not regularly attending school or are not on-time for school. The program not only puts resources in place to support regular and timely attendance, but successfully encourages students to enhance school performance. Truancy Prevention Program has expanded to 20 County middle schools.
  • Participate in the Kennedy and Watkins Mills Clusters in a multi-agency collaboration to improve school performance.
Department of Public Libraries
  • Provide 3D printing services at Silver Spring, Long Branch, Twinbrook, and Kensington Park branches, soon to be expanding system-wide.
  • Offer spaces in many branches where teens can gather, collaborate, use computers, or enjoy library materials specially selected for their interests.
  • Provide two digital media labs at Silver Spring and Long Branch with Teen Tech Time.
  • Provide innovative programs for, with, and by teens, including writing clubs, computer coding, chess clubs, graphic novel drawing, knitting and crocheting, and crafting.
  • KID Museum at Davis Library, a leveraged partnership which allows a growing non-profit learning organization to refresh former training and book storage space at the Davis Library into a state-of-the-art Makerspace, that provides dedicated maker programming for library customers.
  • Engage youth and leverage their talents, skills, and energies in several ways, including a collaboratively developed and maintained teen Facebook page and an active Teen Advisory Group that provides feedback and advice on library services to the Library Director, administrators, and staff.
  • Provide volunteer opportunities for youth who are completing school-required Student Service Learning (SSL) hours, as well as job opportunities for teens as Library Pages.
  • Offer a library materials collection that supports school or home schooling needs, personal interests, career/college preparation, and STEM resources.
  • Provide Ride On Youth Cruiser SmarTrip cards for the Department of Transportation, making acquisition of this free transportation service much easier for County youth to obtain.
  • Offer a series of graphic design and digital media production classes for high school students with the Gandhi Brigade Youth Media.
  • Partner with the NAACP Youth Council on providing community deposit collections in beauty salons and barbershops.
  • Partner with Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, Takoma Park to provide employment to a work study student.

Department of Technology Services (including Cable Communications Plan)
  • Training, equipment, facilities, support, and employment for youth to generate youth media content including: youth events and public performances; video, audio, and written content for cable television and the Internet; facilitating youth webpages and on line community space; and presentations on topics of current interest to youth.
  • Partner with EBB to increase youth STEM coding, game design, and opportunities.

Department of Housing and Community Affairs

  • Provide free car seats, clothing, baby furniture, and other supplies to low-income mothers of newborn babies. Estimated to benefit 480 children/families.
  • Provide after school and summer STEM learning programs for K-5 low-income youth in Germantown. Estimated to benefit 50 students.
  • Provide a STEM program with after school robotics training at two subsidized housing sites for low-income students. Estimated to benefit 30 students.
  • Provide after school program for 120 low income K-5 students at Arcola Elementary and Pembridge/Amherst Square Apartments.
  • Provide 90 days of respite care for male youth while reunification efforts are pursued with parents, legal guardian, kinship provider or sponsor. Estimated to benefit 20 youths.
  • Provide after school activities and summer camp for low-income youth. Estimated to benefit 100 youths.
Department of Environmental Protection - Solid Waste Services
  • Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program pays for young offenders doing alternative community service to bulk and mix good paint for donation to non-profits and harden unusable paint for disposal in the HHW area.
Board of Elections
  • Partner with MCPS to hold the Voter Registration Drive conducted each year. The activity encompasses Student Leadership Week, and concludes on the Student Member of the Board of Education Election Day.
  • Future Vote increases current and future voter knowledge, and educates and strengthens ties related to civic participation for Montgomery County's youth and families by actively providing an opportunity for civic duty, community involvement, and emphasis on the importance of preserving participatory democracy.
WorkSource Montgomery
  • Continue the Montgomery Moving Forward Initiative, a partnership of County Government, MCPS, Montgomery College, the non-profit community and the private sector, to assist unemployed and underemployed County residents in gaining employment in the health and wellness industry.
  • Use $90,000 from the Pepco/Exelon merger fund to support the Summer Youth STEM Career Exploration program, R.I.S.E. (Real Interesting Summer Experience), as part of the Positive Youth Development Initiative. The program will leverage private sector funding as a pilot program. It will give rising high school juniors and seniors from MCPS three weeks of internship opportunities to be exposed to career opportunities that can shape their future, especially in STEM fields.