Kids Like Us (KLU)

KLU logoYT

           Short STORIES from COURAGEOUS KIDS Video

                Short Stories from Courageous Kids is about kids learning to cope with their worries about the substance use of a parent or loved one. The video, produced by Kids Like Us program, was made possible through funding from the Maryland Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration. This video may not be reproduced or distributed for a fee. When shared, citation of the Kids Like Us program as the source is required.

Growing up in a family where there is alcohol or drug misuse often comes with challenges getting along in school and life as well as negative effects on physical and behavioral health. Typically, these youth feel alone and many try to hide what is going on.

The Kids Like Us program (KLU) is designed to help these youth learn that they are not alone and that it is not their fault. The mission of KLU is to break the cycle of addiction by identifying youth impacted by the drug/alcohol misuse of family member and engaging them in best practices of prevention in both school and community settings.

Kids Like Us is a multi-year, counseling, support program for youth impacted by the harmful alcohol or drug use of a close family member. Services are confidential and free and provided by professional counselors and art therapists with the Behavioral Health Services Division of the Frederick County Health Department. Public school counselors work in close collaboration with KLU counselors to provide a series of small group school-based program sessions fro students in grades 4 through 8 or 12 throughout the county. Parent/guardian permission is required for participation. KLU invites the school-based participants to participate in the summer months in a free, "art adventure" day camp program with lots of enriching and fun activities. Art created at the day camp is exhibited at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center every September (Recovery Month) and in the Frederick County Health Department auditorium during October and November.  

Participation in KLU is confidential and we do NOT need to know who is challenged by an alcohol/ drug misuse disorder for a child to participate. Only the KLU and school counselors know who is in KLU.  We work with classroom teachers to time group meetings so they do not interfere with academic success.

Household substance use problems are considered an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) that can undermine a kid’s sense of safety, stability, and bonding. For more information about ACEs:  Fast Facts: Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC

In recent years, KLU has received regional and national attention with an Addiction Policy Forum 2019 Maryland Innovations Now Award and a 2017 National Exemplary Award for Innovation Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, Practices, and Policies on behalf of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc.

Contact Us

Jay Hessler,

Program Director



Getting a Student Involved in KLU

Family members and community members are invited and encouraged to help a student get involved in the Kids Like Us program at their school. Most or all of the elementary, middle, and high schools in the following “feeder patterns” have groups: Brunswick, Catoctin, Governor Thomas Johnson (TJ), Linganore, Middletown, Oakdale, Tuscarora, and Walkersville. To get a student involved, please contact the Kids Like Us Program Manager at 301-600-3435.