Counselor, leader likes to be challenged

November 15, 1999|By ANDREA ROWLAND

John Budesky has never met a challenge he didn't like.

The administrator's open mind, youthful energy and willingness to tackle obstacles fuel positive changes for children and families in Washington County.

Budesky has served as director of the Washington County Local Management Board and the Office for Children and Youth, at 33 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown, since January 1999.

"I think I have a nice mix between being a leader and an advocate. I have a good understanding of the system, of delivery of human services," said Budesky, 27.


The Pittsburgh, Pa., native holds a degree in psychology with minors in sociology and criminal justice. He is preparing to attend graduate school for his master's degree in business administration.

Budesky is a certified addictions counselor and national prevention and Character Counts trainer. And he is currently enrolled in the Human Services Management program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

"I'm motivated by people's resistance to change and their attitudes over past failures. I like a challenge," he said.

His openness and honesty have also helped his agency forge partnerships with other county organizations, Budesky said.

It is this cooperation that will best promote the Local Management Board's mission - working together to improve the lives of children and families in Washington County, he said.

The county Local Management Board was formed in 1996 to fund and manage programs that provide results for families, and to coordinate efforts to help troubled families find the social services they need, Budesky said.

The agency focuses on early intervention, utilization of existing resources and whole-family treatment programs, Budesky said.

The 19-member board is commissioner-appointed and represents both the public and private sector, he said.

"In a short period of time, we've come a long way as a board," Budesky said.

The group has compiled a strategic plan based upon county data that includes ways to reach such outcomes as "Children Safe in their Homes and Communities" and "Stable and Economically Independent Families."

The Healthy Families Washington County initiative - a union between the county Health Department and Washington County Hospital to offer in-home services to first-time parents for five years - will kick off Jan. 1, Budesky said.

The Community Care Coordination Center, a one-stop agency to assess whole family needs and link families to other services, will also start soon, he said.

An online database of available county resources is now accessible, Budesky said.

Such innovations are necessary to "change the system," he said.

"If I have the best interests of the children and families in mind, I have nothing to lose," Budesky said.

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