The local chapter of the YWCA will soon open a support center in Odenton to help families with young children become self-sufficient.
West County "is an area that is lacking in almost all human services for families," said Barbara Hale, assistant to the executive directorof the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. "There are large numbers of families with children who are isolated from family services. You can't get on the bus to get to the grocery story, a doctor or a recreational program."
The agency will be the 13th family support center in the state and the only such facility, aside from one in Annapolis, in Anne Arundel. It will be supported by Friends of the Family, a non-profit agencythat runs Maryland's 12 other centers.
The YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County was awarded the contract to operate the center byFriends of the Family.
The center will be located in the Academy Junction Plaza business complex, near the intersection of routes 175 and 170. Jay Winer, an Odenton developer who owns the plaza, said he will lease 4,000 square feet for $6 a square foot, half the market price.
"We were real impressed by (the YWCA's) enthusiasm for the area," Winer said, adding that he hopes the center will be a permanent fixture in West County and will draw other outreach groups to Odenton.
County Council Chairman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, said the deal with Winer was struck after several months of negotiations between the state, county and private groups.
"It's really a cooperative effort," he said. "It's the way it should be."
The support center, scheduled to open in April, will help families with children upto 3 years old in the West County area. Also providing services in the center will be the Anne Arundel County Health Department, the county housing authority and Planned Parenthood of Central Maryland.
Hale said the YWCA received a $200,000 grant from Friends of the Family that will carry the center through its first 18 months.
The center will require five full-time positions, including a director, home intervention specialist, outreach worker and child development worker.
Interviews for directors are under way.
Figures from the 1990census show 4,000 families with children under age 4 in the Odenton,Severn and Meade areas, Hale said, many either living in poverty or in public housing developments, such as Pioneer City and Meade Village.
"That's a lot of families with young children -- probably many more than we will be equipped to serve," she said, adding that many of the families living at Fort Meade "are low income."