United Way serves Baltimore County Annual fund drive: Charity helps suburb cope with problems related to aging, poverty.

October 29, 1997

WITH HELP FROM the United Way, Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland helps Baltimore County and the rest of the region cope with some of their most pressing problems, including a burgeoning elderly population and troubled families.

Family and Children's Services, a private non-profit group, operates on an $8 million budget; $1.5 million of it comes from the United Way.

The organization uses this money in concert with public funds to provide valuable services it otherwise could not afford, such as adult day care and support for in-home eldercare; adoption initiatives for kids with serious health programs, including AIDS, and different kinds of family counseling.

The funds for counseling support an important program for domestic batterers that is specific to Baltimore County, where such abuse is a serious problem.

Hundreds of men each year are referred by police and the courts to this 24-week course, designed to make them confront the wrongness of what they have done and teach new behaviors. It also provides help to victims, including those who have not filed formal complaints.

Family and Children's Services is one of only three non-profit organizations that treat domestic violence in the county, and by far the largest.

Without United Way support, it would not be doing this vital work.

Those who have never given to the United Way may be skeptical when they are asked to donate during the fund-raising campaign that concludes in two weeks.

They should know that 87 cents of every dollar donated to United Way goes to proven agencies such as Family and Children's Services.

Also, United Way now has "community partnerships" -- advisory boards of representatives from government, business and human services in Baltimore and each of the surrounding suburban counties -- to help keep tabs on the spe-cific needs of each jurisdiction.

In Baltimore County, whose partnership was established this year, the need for human services may surprise those who lead comfortable lives.

More than 136,700 residents are age 60 or older, and the number is expected to grow by 7.5 percent by 2005. This fast-growing segment of the county's population has greater demand for social services.

People were turned away from county shelters 3,229 times for lack of room. Sixty-seven percent of the children who need licensed day care do not find it.

More than one-fourth of households headed by females live in poverty. More than one-fifth of adults over the age of 25 lack a high school education. One-third of those who received emergency shelter last year were children.

Last year, United Way distributed $4.4 million to organizations that address these and other problems, groups as diverse as the Boy Scouts, Catholic Charities, the American Heart Association, Meals on Wheels and Associated Black Charities.

Your contribution makes a difference in your own back yard.

For more information, call 410-547-8000.

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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