Child coordinator resigns in protest

January 07, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Contending that her position is too important to be given second-class status, the county's child and youth coordinator is resigning when her contract expires March 5.

Leslie Hinebaugh, whose title originally was child care coordinator for the county, began work March 1990 on an annual, contractual basis.

"For someone who did as much work as I did and affected the community the way I did, it really needs to be a full-time position," she said. "And I thought it was time to move on."

Although Ms. Hinebaugh works 37 1/2 hours a week, she is paid hourly with no sick time, holidays or benefits such as health insurance. Her pay is $11.54 an hour.

Ms. Hinebaugh has 20 years of experience in day-care management and early childhood education. She has a master's degree in child care-administration.

Given her qualifications, she said, she deserved a full-time job.

If the county would give her one, Ms. Hinebaugh said, "I would stay."

She said she hopes to seek a job in public policy or advocacy, such as with the Maryland Committee for Children, a private, nonprofit agency based in Baltimore.

Ms. Hinebaugh said she has not personally asked for full-time status, but she said directors for whom she has worked have asked and have been turned down during county budget hearings.

Jolene Sullivan, director of the county Department of Citizen Services, declined to comment on Ms. Hinebaugh's resignation, saying she couldn't speak about personnel matters. Ms. Hinebaugh's job was shifted to that department two years ago, after originating in the Department of Recreation and Parks.

"There isn't the commitment there that I need," Ms. Hinebaugh said of the Carroll County government. "I have to feel what I'm doing is important to the people I work for."

She said she does not believe that the commissioners feel her position is necessary, although she strongly believes it is.

"We have so many people in child care," she said. "We need the backing of government to say, 'Yes, it's important.' "

In addition to the 5,000 children in licensed care in the county, Ms. Hinebaugh estimated another that 6,000 to 7,000 babies and children are in unlicensed homes, whether illegally or with family members.

"People call every day and say, 'I don't have child care and I start work on Monday,' " she said. "It takes two incomes in this county to buy a home."

Since she began her position, there have been cases of parents leaving their children in cars in parking lots while they worked, and one case of a 14-month-old baby who was left in a crib while the family was at work.

Ms. Hinebaugh has:

* Begun a child-care resource and referral service for families and providers. The list is available in the Carroll County Public Library.

* Consulted with people opening day-care centers or starting home day care. She currently is working with the Rev. Rudy Tidwell of Faith Baptist Church, which is building a day-care center.

* Worked with towns in the county to make zoning easier for home day-care use.

* Made a request that led to Carroll Community College creating an associate of arts degree program for child care.

* Helped get a child-care program started at Carroll County Career and Technology Center.

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