Friday, October 29, 2010

Farewell and Thank You, Carol Ludwig

Carol Ludwig, BCCS Chief Financial Officer, is retiring today after 19 years of service with us. Yesterday we held a farewell for her at her office at the Lancaster Annex. It was an opportunity for those who have worked with her and been touched by her dedication and service to BCCS to express their gratitude and say goodbye.

Carol was presented with an oversized card signed by BCCS staff, as well as a gift of matching turquoise earrings and necklace. As staff reminisced and shared stories from the past, Carol recalled her favorite client.

“Over on 4th Street, when I first started working there, I came out and she started spilling her guts to me. I was like, ‘Honey, honey, I’m not a counselor! Don’t be tellin’ me this stuff!’ And she looked me in the face, and she said, ‘Well, you looked like somebody I could talk to.’ I said, ‘Awww…’”

Asked what was her best moment, she said, “Coming here. I took a big pay cut to come here, but when I got here and started working here, I knew this was where I belonged.” As for retirement plans, she plans to take off in an RV and travel with her husband, and to do some volunteer work.

Thank you, Carol for your many years of service and best wishes!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Groundbreaking "Prostitution Diversion Project" Wins Federal Funding

U.S. Office of Women’s Health awards $100,000 grant to Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS)

Wilmington, DE – For the past several years, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS) caseworkers have walked Wilmington streets from midnight to early morning, encouraging area prostitutes to enter into healthcare and counseling treatment programs. But it is the group’s proposed Prostitution Diversion Project – with its groundbreaking coalition of criminal justice, social service and public health systems - that caught the attention of the federal government and won BCCS a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health.

“We are delighted to be recognized for our collaborative approach to the issue of prostitution in Delaware,” said Dr. Lynn Fahey, CEO of BCCS. “These women are in need of both medical and social services but are often trapped in the criminal justice system with limited access. By aligning a network of representatives from all three systems, we can improve the health and welfare of female sex workers, and reduce the cycling rate in the court system of women with criminal charges linked to prostitution. This project is going to save Delaware taxpayers significant sums of money.”

The overall goal of the proposed Prostitution Diversion Project is to reduce the women’s reliance on sex work as a means of income. Originating from interest within Delaware’s Court of Common Pleas, Commissioner Mary McDonough reached out to BCCS to begin discussions around alternative approaches. Depending on the need, BCCS will offer assistance in the form of drug treatment, trauma counseling, job training and placement. The organization also heads up the coalition committee, which includes representatives from the multiple intercept points that interact with the prostitution population. Stakeholders on the committee include:

• Community health/public health providers/clinics
• Non-profit organizations and outreach programs serving at-risk individuals
• Law enforcement agencies
• Court professionals
• Corrections professionals
• Organizations providing services upon prison re-entry
• Our local Academic Institution; The University of Delaware

“Our proposal was small and very specific to protecting the health and welfare of women in the sex trade, so we were the underdogs in a very competitive grant process,” said Basha Silverman, Prevention Director and BCCS Project Coordinator. “I believe our ambitious project was chosen partly because Delaware’s size makes it a manageable location to test for a realistic and sustainable program.”

The grant award extends through August 31, 2011. BCCS has subcontracted with Dr. Chrysanthi Leon of the University of Delaware and Joanna Champney, Executive Director of SURJ (Stand up For What’s Right and Just) to assist the coalition with essential research to determine health needs of the prostitute population as well as develop a corresponding Strategic Plan of Action and detailed Implementation Plan. BCCS’s aim is to align criminal justice and social services to identify an innovative health approach that is women-centered, trauma-informed, cost-effective and sustainable.

At the completion of the grant year, the BCCS Prostitution Diversion Project will compete with 16 other award winners for an additional five-year funding grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health to implement the program.

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. (BCCS) is a community organization that provides holistic care to persons and their families living with addiction, mental health, and HIV-related challenges. BCCS is Delaware's most recognized provider of behavioral services with seven locations statewide. For more information, please contact Basha Silverman at (302) 655-9880, ext. 123, or visit

Friday, October 22, 2010

Needle Exchange Credited with Reduced HIV Infection Rates in Delaware

The number of new HIV infections in Delaware has fallen from over 300 a year to about 155 in the past decade, and the state's pilot needle exchange program deserves some credit, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Jim Dickinson of DPH made this statement at yesterday's meeting of the Delaware HIV Planning Council. As of September 30, there were 101 newly identified HIV cases in Delaware during 2010. In addition to needle exchange, improved education and outreach programs may also be contributing to the decrease, Dickinson said.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the Council heard from James Albino, senior program manager for the Office of National AIDS Policy, about the White House's national strategy to reduce new infections by 25% over the next 5 years. The strategy incorporates prevention, increased access to medical care, reduction of stigma, and increasing coordination.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Take a Tour of the Anchor Program

Thanks to all who stopped by our Open House yesterday to help BCCS celebrate the launch of the Anchor Program, a mental health initiative for adults suffering from mental illness or mental illness coupled with substance abuse or dependency issues.

If you missed it, visit our photo album to take a virtual tour!

Located conveniently at 2500 West 4th Street, Suite 1, Wilmington, DE, 19805, Anchor works with Medicaid and other insurance providers. Call for more information or make an appointment: 302-472-0381.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

JustGive Will Match Your $10 Donation for 10 Days is celebrating 10 years of giving. Thanks to donors' generosity, JustGive has sent millions of donations to tens of thousands of charities working throughout the world. Brandywine has received $871 from supporters like you through JustGive since their start.

To celebrate these 10 years of giving, thank donors, and further their mission of increasing charitable giving, JustGive will add $10 to every donation made for ten days, beginning 10/10/10.

When you visit and donate $10 or more to Brandywine, a $10 match will be added to your gift. Your donation helps people recover from addiction and mental illness, and now with this $10 match, you can have an even greater impact.

So let's take advantage of this special offer! Please forward this post to anyone who supports Brandywine's work. Together we can make a difference for recovering persons and their families. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Delaware Has Nation's 7th Highest Binge Drinking Rate

Today's News Journal reports that the CDC ranks Delaware as having the 7th highest binge drinking rate in the country, at 18.5%.

Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women, five or more for men.

Binge drinking and alcoholism are responsible for nearly 80,000 deaths each year. Binge drinkers, for the most part, are not addicts.

One reason that binge drinking has not fallen during the past 15 years is because it's not widely recognized as a "risky health behavior," said Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

Prevention efforts therefore need to focus on awareness of the lifestyle risks, such as car crashes, as well as risky criminal or sexual behaviors. In addition, we should promote alternative choices in activities, so that binge drinking becomes a less attractive option.

Why the rate is so high in Delaware compared to other states is unknown, according to local counselors who have treated binge drinkers.

Why do you think Delaware's rate is so high? What else can be done about this serious public health issue?