For Immediate Release August 03, 2021

The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center (Harford Crisis Center) will be receiving more than $125,000 in state grant funds for three peer recovery coaches to help combat Harford County's overdose problems. The Harford Crisis Center operates as a public/private partnership with the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) and other key community partners to provide three levels of care to those struggling with addiction or mental health issues: urgent care walk-in, residential crisis beds, and an outpatient mental health center.

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford recently announced the $126,811 grant from Maryland's Opioid Operational Command Center as part of efforts to address the opioid and substance use crisis through the state's Competitive Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2022.

This grant will allow peer recovery coaches at the Harford Crisis Center to continue their work with the emergency departments at UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and UM Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, providing immediate access to comprehensive, trauma informed care for those impacted by substance use and behavioral health issues. Peer recovery professionals provide shared experience and promotion of healthy outcomes for individuals and their families experiencing substance use disorders and/or behavioral health crises. The utilization of these coaches, who are in recovery from their own behavioral health struggles and who can interact with individuals based on a "lived experience" model, is vital to the successful assessment, treatment and disposition of Crisis Center patients.

"The inclusion of peer recovery coaches within the multi-disciplinary team is a national best practice tool that has proven to be extremely effective in meeting the needs of the individuals we serve," said Jennifer Redding, LCSW-C, Executive Director of Behavioral Health at the Klein Family Harford Crisis Center. "These peers have 'been there, done that' and often serve as the most effective liaisons between the patient and other service providers." The Crisis Center currently has nine peer recovery coaches on staff.

"We are pleased to receive this valuable funding from the Competitive Grant Program, especially given that Harford County has the 10th highest drug overdose rate in the state," said Lyle Sheldon, President and CEO of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH). "By utilizing peer recovery specialists, we are able to move access to care from our emergency departments to the Klein Family Harford Crisis Center, creating immediacy to care and care coordination. This is a monumental shift in delivery."

Founded in 2018, the Klein Family Harford Crisis Center ( was created based on the need for crisis services in Harford County. It was developed as a partnership, made up of the public and private sectors, local and state governments, providers and advocates—including UM UCH, Harford County Government, Harford County Health Department, Healthy Harford/Healthy Cecil, and the Harford County Office on Mental Health. The overall goal was to create an effective alternative to the hospital emergency department and/or inpatient admissions to better serve county residents in the midst of a behavioral health (mental health/substance use) crisis. The array of services under one roof includes:

  • 24/7 Behavioral Health Crisis Warmline/Hotline
  • 24/7 Behavioral Health Mobile Crisis Teams
  • Walk-In/Urgent Care Assessment and Stabilization Services
  • 24/7 Residential Crisis Services for Extended Stabilization (approximately 3-5 days)
  • Outpatient Therapy and Medication Management (Psychiatry)

The state's Competitive Grant Program distributes grant funding to the highest-scoring proposals received from both state and local government agencies, as well as from private, community-based partners. Prior to fiscal year 2022, UM UCH was provided $181,500 in fiscal year 2021 for peer recovery support personnel to assist in screening, intervention and links to treatment. In fiscal year 2020, $109,000 was granted in order to support recovery housing and support services in Harford County.