Bringing Baltimore Girls and Their Moms Together

by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Inc.


The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Program gives daughters of incarcerated mothers access to community activities that foster leadership, team-building and healthy decision making skills. GSCM provides regular Girl Scout troop meetings with their moms where they work together on their Girl Scout badge projects, helping them build self-esteem and empower them to reach their full potential.
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When a mother is incarcerated, the victims are often the children. There is no opportunity to prepare a child for this type of abrupt separation. In Baltimore, families are often single parent families, so when the mom is removed, the child is powerless & vulnerable. There is a drop in academic performance & social stigma lowers one's self-esteem. Acting-out behavior - including violence- begins with disconnection. A trusting relationship with one's mom is important to these girls' future.


Beyond Bars has operated since 1992. Long-term outcomes show that these girls fare better in school, relationships & career than girls who lose connection with their moms. Girl Scouts takes girls to the institution in which their moms are detained, & facilitates productive quality time-- time for creating memories, having special moments & bonding, so that trust can be re-established. In field trips, girls gain more than academic knowledge. They explore, learn teamwork & responsibility.

Long-Term Impact

Started in Maryland, Beyond Bars has been studied & verified as a national best practice & has been replicated by Girl Scout Councils across the nation. Long term effects include: better grades in school, completion of high school & beyond; ability to form & maintain healthy relationships; & gaining a positive self-image. Studies by the National Girl Scouts Research Institute demonstrated long term positive effects for the mothers, too, in setting goals & achieving them.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


Girl Scouts Central Maryland website
Girl Scouts Central Maryland Facebook page
Girl Scouts Central Maryland Twitter page
Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Blog

Organization Information

Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Inc.

Location: Baltimore, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Claudia McDonough
Baltimore, MD United States
$4,157 raised of $8,000 goal
33 donations
$3,843 to go
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