Innovative child-care center may come to Carroll County businesses have shown interest

December 23, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

A former Maryland education official is working with local business and government leaders to develop a "world-class" child-care center in Carroll County.

The center would be called Children's Neighborhood and might also include day care for adults, said Leslie E. Hinebaugh, coordinator of the children and youth unit in the county's Department of Citizen Services.

Planning still is in the preliminary stage, said Nicholas Hobar, who was Maryland's assistant state superintendent of instruction for seven years.

In August, he started Workforce 2000 Inc., a training and consulting company in Cockeysville, to work with businesses to help them find solutions to changing technologies and work forces.

He contacted day-care coordinators in Baltimore-area counties in late October, and Ms. Hinebaugh showed interest in the program, Mr. Hobar said.

Carroll is the only county he is working with to establish a Children's Neighborhood, but he said he would like to start similar centers in other counties.

"We want to create a home-away-from-home environment," Mr. Hobar said.

Businesses could contract with Children's Neighborhood instead of opening on-site day-care centers, Ms. Hinebaugh said.

Parents could be confident their children were receiving quality care, she said.

"Production goes down when people worry about their children," Ms. Hinebaugh said.

The center, which would have a capacity of about 100 children, would be a cluster of cottages, each with its own outdoor fenced play area.

Children would be grouped in the cottages by age.

The complex also would have a "get well room" for children who were "mildly ill," a brochure says.

A location for the center has not been chosen, but the Air Business Park on Littlestown Pike is a possibility, Ms. Hinebaugh said.

Children's Neighborhood would give children opportunities to participate in art, science, language, math and technology activities, the brochure says.

Staff would be licensed and experienced and would receive competitive salaries, benefits and share in company profits.

Parents would help plan activities and would provide feedback to the center's operators, the brochure says.

If the center includes adult day care, it's possible the adults could work with the children on certain projects, Mr. Hobar said.

The center also could be used for training classes sponsored by Carroll Community College and for parenting classes, Ms. Hinebaugh said.

Mr. Hobar and Ms. Hinebaugh said they have met with representatives of local businesses and the public schools to discuss opening a center.

The next step will be asking businesses to commit to the idea and to find money to build and operate the center, Mr. Hobar said.

Random House Inc., Marada Industries Inc. and Carroll County Bank & Trust Co. have attended some of the meetings, Ms. Hinebaugh said.

Mr. Hobar taught in public schools before receiving master's and doctorate degrees at Pennsylvania State University.

He worked with the West Virginia Department of Education for 10 years before coming to Maryland.

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