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March 17, 2023

Rockville’s Lourie Center Focuses on Early Intervention

Credit: mymcm

Representatives for The Lourie Center for Children’s Social and Emotional Wellness in Rockville told U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6) Thursday they have a great success rate in helping young children in trauma and would welcome the chance to assist even more if only they could hire more people.

Executive Director Jimmy Venza said his center has a 40% staff vacancy rate, because there just aren’t enough teachers, therapists and psychologists. The school currently serves 22 children but could accommodate as many as 60.

There are two to three adults for every student. “There is a high intensity need. Teachers are at risk for getting hurt every day. People don’t appreciate it,” Venza said.

Trone said he is working to direct money to schools to increase enrollment in these areas, noting it is better to pay now to help a young child than later when that child ends up with a substance use disorder or in prison.

One mother, whose middle son has since graduated from the program and now attends public school, had difficulty controlling his temper, and at one point, “wrapped his neck around the dog’s leash,” trying to strangle himself.

She strongly praised the Lourie Center, which is part of Adventist Healthcare, and its staff for loving, understanding and making her child feel safe.

In its 41st year, the center focuses on early intervention, teaching young children about self-restraint even before they enter kindergarten. The center uses a relationship-based therapeutic model to get the child “on the right trajectory,” Venza explained.

Besides the school, about another 175 children attend therapy sessions and a preschool therapeutic program. There is a waiting list for all these services.

Tuition is about $65,000 a year, or $100,000 with transportation, but the child’s home school district covers the cost.