Kids Like Us (KLU)

Click above to view an excerpt from Short Stories from Courageous Kids – a video about kids learning to cope with their worries about the substance use of a parent or loved one. If you would like to see the video in its entirety, please contact us through the email link in the upper right corner of this webpage.

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.

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.

2019-2020 Collaborating Schools

Elementary Schools
Ballenger Creek * Brunswick * Butterfly Ridge * Carroll Manor * Deer Crossing * Emmitsburg* Glade * Hillcrest * Lewistown * New Market * North Frederick * Oakdale * Orchard Grove * Sabillasville * Thurmont * Tuscarora * Vally * Waverly * Whittier *  Yellow Springs

Middle Schools
Ballenger Creek * Brunswick * Crestwood * Middletown * Monocacy * New Market * Oakdale * TJ * Thurmont * Walkersville * West Frederick

High Schools
Catoctin * Brunswick * Linganore * TJ

Contact Us

  1. Julie Wood Merchant, Director

    350 Montevue Lane
    Frederick, MD 21702
    Ph: 301-600-1755


    Monday - Friday
    8am - 5pm

Getting a Student Involved in KLU

Local school counselors enroll most KLU participants.  However, mental health professionals, teachers, family members, and other community members are invited and encouraged to help a student get involved. Contact the youth school counselor or the KLU director to discuss enrollment. The links below provide additional referral resources.