Day care service seeks community's support

Program for teen mothers hopes for corporate, private contributions

July 22, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Faced with a slash in state funding, Carroll County Family Center is seeking donations for a program that provides licensed day care and support services to teen-age mothers and their children.

"We feel this program is very important, and didn't want to see it disappear, so we've decided to fold it into our family center," said Sylvia Canon, executive director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., about Raising Hopes Infant Center. The child care program has operated in the county for three years.

Canon discussed the center's financial problems yesterday at the monthly meeting of the county's Local Management Board, which was established in 1995 to improve the lives of children and families in Carroll.

During her presentation to the 20-member board, Canon also announced that the child care program would embrace several changes this year -- including a new name.

Renamed Carroll County Family Support Center, the program is expected to provide day care for 12 children this year. Three of the slots will be reserved for teen parents who stay in school and complete their education. Two high school students have called the center to make day care arrangements for their children, Canon said.

In addition to helping teen-age mothers, the day care and parent skills program will be expanded this year to include family center participants entering the work force or continuing their education. Those families will pay for the day care services with their funds or through the state Department of Social Services, Canon said.

The United Way has awarded the program a $50,000 grant to pay for a job coach to help center participants make the transition into the work force, Canon said. The money will be used to provide other support services and help pay the salary of a center staff member.

"This program is so important to the future of these girls and their children," Canon said. "It helps prepare them for the challenges of today's world, helps them become self-sufficient."

All of the parents whose children are cared for at the center will be required to take child rearing and life skills classes, Canon said. The classes will most likely be offered Wednesday evenings at the Westminster day care facility, housed in the Human Services Programs building at 10 Distillery Drive.

The family center has asked local churches and businesses to support the family support center and is seeking private contributions. The program costs $105 a week per child -- about $4,200 for the school year. Tax deductible donations are needed by Aug. 30, when students return to school.

In other business, the Local Management Board announced that it has been awarded three grants to provide services to at-risk children in Carroll County.

A $225,000 federal grant will be used to pay for a service coordinator at Carroll County Family Center and a program therapist for the HORSES program, an equestrian therapy program run by the county's Youth Services Bureau that provides treatment to troubled or violent youths and their families. The grant is awarded through the state Department of Human Resources and provides $75,000 each year for three years to fund the two positions.

A $40,000 grant from Carroll County Children's Fund will be used to provide therapeutic services for children with psychiatric needs. The Children's Fund is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1983 to assist uninsured and underinsured children. It relies solely on local donations.

The Children's Fund also awarded the Local Management Board a $10,000 grant to train service coordinators at the county's Infants and Toddlers Program. The organization was able to award the grants this year because a decreasing number of families are seeking the group's financial assistance to meet the health needs of their children.

Many families are looking to the state's Children Health Program, established nine months ago, to supplement their insurance benefits.

Information about the Family Support Center: Carroll County Family Center, 410-857-0629.

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