Mid-Shore Pro Bono, a non-profit organization on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that provides free access to legal services to low income community members, today announced it has been awarded $183,668.00 for FY21, supported by the Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) competitive grant program. The OOCC is an agency of the state government. The views presented here are those of the grantee organization and not necessarily those of the OOCC, its Executive Director, or its staff. The competitive awards total from OOCC was approximately $5.6M for FY21.
According to the OOCC 2020 Second Quarter Report, there was a 9.4% increase in the number of opioid-related deaths in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time last year. This increase is believed to be related to community consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic including lack of personal support, treatment facility closures and a freeze on different related services. It is no coincidence that the two health threats are feeding each other.
“The demand for our family law services has tripled since March 2020,” said Sandy Brown, executive director, Mid-Shore Pro Bono. “We are battling two extreme health crises that are impacting families and have legal remedies. We are grateful to our community partners who supported this application and to the OOCC for this funding that will expand the work we do throughout the Shore.”
The funding will support Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Child Advocacy and Kinship Care project that spans from Kent to Wicomico County. This project provides free legal representation to caregivers seeking third party custody of children who are victims of the opioid crisis, left without parents to care for them. The organization is looking to secure funding to grow support for these efforts in Somerset and Worcester County.
About the Opioid Operational Command Center
The Opioid Operational Command Center’s vision is that Maryland will be a healthier place where no one else falls victim to substance misuse, where anyone impacted by substance use disorder can access the health services they need, and where there is no more suffering from the misuse of substances. Under the guidance of the Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council, the OOCC leads Maryland’s opioid-related strategic planning and coordinates the efforts of approximately 20 state agencies, our community partners, and all 24 local jurisdictions throughout the state. If you know someone who is struggling with substance misuse, you can find help at BeforeItsTooLate.Maryland.gov.