Our Mission

Southern Maryland Community Network (SMCN) forms a partnership between people with mental health needs and their community to foster understanding, empowerment, integration and enhanced quality of life. 

Our History


1981- A group of five parents and one concerned citizen met to develop housing for people with psychiatric disabilities.  This group became incorporated under the name BLESS, Inc. (Building Livelihood Education and Social Success).

1983- BLESS, Inc. began providing housing services for five women with psychiatric disabilities.

1986- BLESS, Inc. expanded its housing services for a total residential consumer caseload of 18 people.

1988- BLESS, Inc. is recruited to provide housing services in St. Mary's County, expanding the market area.  Traditional housing services continue and implementation leads to a consumer base of 30.  Bless, Inc. is also recognized as "Community Program of the Year" by the Maryland Mental Health Association and is cited for its community efforts to reduce stigma towards people with psychiatric disabilities.

1990- Organizational name change to Southern Maryland Community Network, Inc. (SMCN).  SMCN is designated as a statewide demonstration project in the area of Supported Housing.

1991- Jack Hillyard resigns as Executive Director and John R. Bennett replaces him.  SMCN is selected as "Program of the Year" by the Maryland Association of Psychosocial Services.  

1993- Received approval to provide Targeted Case Management Services.  SMCN holds a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building.

1994- Construction of SMCN's new 11,000 square foot facility is completed.  SMCN holds an open house which 200 people from the community attended.

1995- New COMAR regulations are formally adopted allowing for the reimbursement of off-site rehabilitation services under Medicaid.  

1996- In a cooperative effort with the local Core Services Agency and Shelter Care Plus (HUD), SMCN implements a housing support program for the mentally ill homeless and incarcerated population.  

1997- SMCN honors its founding Board of Directors and former Executive Director, Jack Hillyard and others as Mental Health Pioneers at its 1st Annual Awards Banquet.

1998- SMCN implements Dual Diagnosis collaboration with Calvert Substance Abuse Services and redesigned the Supported Employment Program to address employment needs of persons diagnosed with mental illnesses.

1999- SMCN expands its Case Management Program to serve children and adolescents.

2004- SMCN is awarded on a competitive basis, a grant to provide Intensive In-Home Intervention services (IHIP program) to 8 youth and their families.  The goal of IHIP is to reduce out-of-home placement and to keep families unified.  

2005- SMCN opens a new six-person intensive level group home.  This is the first of such facility opened by SMCN in nearly 20 years.

2012- SMCN continues to grow and expand our programs while adding offices in Charles and St. Mary's Counties.

2013- John R. Bennett, Executive Director retires after 22 years of service to SMCN.  Karen E. Carloni is named Executive Director.

2014- SMCN’s Comptroller, Eileen Bowen passed away.  SMCN’s Janeen Collinson, LCSW-C assumes position as the Tri-County Rehabilitation Director for Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.  SMCN partners with Diane Saccoccio, LCSW for Therapy Liaison Services for clients in the community and at SMCN.  

2015- SMCN received an Award of Merit for outstanding safety achievement from MACS.  Rush Cox assumes the position as Finance Director and Michael Radcliff assumes the position as Operations Director.

2016- SMCN begins the Community Behavioral Health Liaison (CBHL) program which serves the Tri-County area in Southern Maryland.  The Charles County office for SMCN relocated to the Smallwood Building located on Crain Highway in Waldorf, Maryland.  SMCN was selected as the Targeted Case Management vendor for Calvert County and the contract was renewed for 5 years.  The Charles County Core Service Agency announced the award of the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) grant-funded program to SMCN.  SMCN pursues accreditation through CARF.  SMCN begins the Non-Supported Employment Program in Calvert County. 

2017- SMCN begins the Reentry Case Management Program which serves the youth in Calvert County.  SMCN obtained CARF accreditation.

2018- SMCN receives supported employment enhancement funds from Charles County Charitable Trust.

2019- SMCN begins the Mental Health Housing Stabilization Program known as the Porter House as a pilot project to help end homelessness for people with mental health disabilities in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties. Youth Engagement Program – a program to help disconnected youth with job readiness and job development. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. SMCN receives funding from the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund to repair and improve our Walnut Road Property. SMCN receives Charles County Charitable Trust client support funds for Charles County.

Consumer Satisfaction Survey Results (2018):

Consumer Satisfaction Pie Chart

Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form