Children's project wins brief reprieve Decision on closing postponed to Dec.

November 27, 1992|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,Staff Writer

A Howard County program for seriously disturbed children will remain open -- at least for the next couple of weeks.

The Children's Guild of Baltimore on Wednesday postponed a decision until early December on whether to close its Howard County extension program. The postponement came a day after county school officials offered to move the program inside a public building, in part, to help reduce expenses.

The program is currently on the grounds of Taylor Manor Hospital, a private psychiatric facility in Ellicott City. Stanley Mopsik, the guild's executive director, said that moving into school facilities at reduced rent would help save money.

Mr. Mopsik said his organization would work on a rental agreement with school officials and analyze costs before making a final decision next month.

"It's not very specific at this time," Mr. Mopsik said. "There are a lot of details to work out."

L Howard County school officials were unavailable for comment.

Betty Coleman, whose 10-year-old son, Chris, attends the program, was relieved by the news.

"I'm very happy," she said. "Chris, too. I think things are going to work out well for us."

The Children's Guild is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1953. It provides education and intensive psychotherapy to emotionally disturbed children who cannot function in regular schools.

The Howard County extension program serves 13 elementary school-age students. It is the only one of its kind in the southern Baltimore suburbs.

But recently it has been at risk of shutting down because it does not have enough students to meet expenses. The program, which has been open for a year and a half, needs at least 15 students to cover costs.

In the next two weeks, Mr. Mopsik will continue to work with county school officials to find new students for the program.

If the program closes, students will have to commute from 45 minutes to an hour and a half each way to the Children's Guild campus in Northeast Baltimore.

Many of the students are hyperactive, easily frustrated or suffer from depression. Starting the day with a lengthy bus ride could make studies difficult, school officials say.

For Chris Coleman, who lives on the outskirts of Laurel and gets sick on bus rides, there aren't many other options.

"He can't go to Baltimore," said his father, William. If the program closes, he said, "I don't know what I'll do."

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