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Behavior Support Services: BSS


The Maryland Behavioral Support Services Partnership

This partnership brings together Humanim, The Arc of Southern Maryland, The Arc of Washington County, and Somerset Community Services for the purpose of providing comprehensive Statewide Behavioral Support Services to Maryland residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The centralized partnership, under the administration of Humanim, went into effect October 1, 2013, at which time the toll-free centralized intake number (1-888-374-3276) went live, with service being offered 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

Mobile Crisis Intervention Services


The Mobile Crisis Intervention Team is available 24/7/365 Statewide to respond to a behavioral emergency that may result or has resulted in a harmful or potentially harmful outcome to a person who has been found eligible for DDA services or who is reasonable presumed to be eligible for DDA services. The goal for these services is to reduce harm to self or others, emergency hospital admission, and/or potential police/legal involvement.

All calls for the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team should go through our 24/7 (1-888-374-3276) call center and will be answered by a trained crisis intervention staff.

Behavioral Services

Behavioral Support Services include a constellation of home and community based support services designed to assist the individual with intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) thrive in their community of choice.

Support is designed to identify significant problems early, prevent problems from escalating, and respond to behavioral emergencies and crises.

Behavioral Consultation will be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. All services can be easily initiated by calling the centralized intake line 888-374-3276. A live person will answer the call 24/7 in order to increase ease of access.

This service is provided to all DDA licensed providers, caregivers, recipients of services, police, hospital and emergency treatment teams.

Behavioral Assessments

Behavioral Assessments are conducted by trained clinical professional staff, often psychology associates under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. The assessment often includes verification of Challenging Behavior and/or con-occurring mental health issues warranting access to DDA-funded BSS. This is accomplished through record review, interviews with caregivers, analysis of data, onsite observations of the interactions between the individual and their caregivers(s), testing when indicated and observation of the implementation of existing programs in order to evaluate and complete a Functional Analysis or assessment of the Challenging Behavior(s). The assessment will result in a report generated for the caregiver and/or provider. This is the first step in developing behavioral support strategies for the individual in need.

Behavioral Consultation

Behavioral Consultation involves a broad range of professional services, primarily the development of behavioral strategies and recommendations, which often results in development of an Individualized Behavior Support Plan and the delivery of Behavioral Consultation and Behavioral Support subsequent to development of the Behavior Plan.

The clinical staff work collaboratively with the provider, service coordination, family/caregiver, and other treatment teams to identify and arrange additional professional consultations including psychiatric, neurological, medical or psychological services.  In addition, they will develop and present recommendations, strategies and next steps to caregivers; train on the implementation of strategies; monitor, consult and evaluate results.

Behavioral Support

Behavioral Support is then provided as a follow-up activity, complimenting and enhancing the Behavioral Consultation in order to ensure that strategies and recommendations are being implemented consistently and that expected behavioral outcomes are being achieved. Although there is considerable variability in the design and delivery of Behavioral Support, due to variances in the support needs of the person involved, Behavioral Support typically involves:

  • Providing the technical support and follow up service to the caregiver or staff provider necessary to ensure that strategies are implemented correctly and consistently.
  • Conducting meetings or instructional sessions in order to ensure the correct implementation of strategies and to review behavior plan data in order to evaluate the effectiveness of behavior plan intervention.
  • Providing adjustment or modification of recommendations and behavioral strategies.

Behavioral Support can be provided immediately following the development of the behavior plan in order to ensure that initial implementation of behavioral strategies is correct and/or at some point after behavior plan implementation in order to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of behavioral intervention and to evaluate the durability of behavioral treatment gains.

Behavioral Respite

Behavioral Respite is a highly structured intervention that provides intensive behavioral services in a well controlled, behaviorally managed residential environment. The primary purpose of Behavioral Respite Service is to reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of challenging behaviors and/or manage co-occurring mental health issues so that the individual with IDD is able to return to a community-based placement either through a DDA provider or family/caretaker. Behavioral Respite Services are provided at the discretion of DDA and are a part of a service plan that is designed to return the individual with challenging behaviors to a community setting. Behavioral Respite can be used to meet the needs of a person for substitute care and supervision in emergency situations or as a planned, coordinated, transitional step-down program from acute care psychiatric facility.

Access to this service is contingent upon referral/authorization from the appropriate DDA Regional Office.  Respite services for a person shall not exceed 45 calendar days within a one year period and shall not be provided for more than 28 consecutive calendar days unless prior approval in granted by DDA.

Behavioral Respite typically occurs following a series of serious behavioral incidents or a severe behavioral outburst where an assessment has been made that changing the person's environment is part of the therapeutic intervention needed to improve the situation. This is a temporary, time-limited placement that is prepared to meet these needs.

All respite settings will have appropriate licensing and/or approval from DDA. Utilizing the statewide network of respite beds, children will be accommodated as well as adults. Children will be accommodated in a separate location.

If you believe Behavioral Respite Services are needed, call the centralized intake line 1-888-374-3276 to put in a referral. The regional provider will then communicate directly with the DDA Regional Office for approval or denial of admission. Communication with the caregiver/referring party will be maintained regarding the status of the referral. If admission is denied, the BSS provider will work directly with the caregiver/referring party to develop an alternative plan to utilize BSS services.



Southern Region BSS Staff


Dawn Tierney, BSS Director

Melissa Wilson, BSS Admin


Office: 410-535-2413

Fax: 410-535-1314






Founded in 1975, The Arc of Southern Maryland is a private
501(c)(3) organization, affiliated at the state level with
The Arc of Maryland and at the national level with The
Arc of the United States, the world’s largest grass roots
organization of, and for, people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities.



Ways to Support








355 West Dares Beach Road

P.O. Box 1860

Prince Frederick, MD 20678





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