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State offering amnesty to unlicensed day care providers


MARYLAND wants all its family day care providers to be legal -- and that means licensed -- so the state is granting amnesty to unlicensed providers until Feb. 29. These providers can begin the licensing process in the next two months without paying penalties for operating an unlicensed day care home.

No one has any idea how many people without licenses are caring for children in their homes, said Roberta Ward, assistant director for programs for the state's Child Care Administration. But she is sure the number is high. There are about 12,000 registered family day care providers in Maryland, she said.

The child care administration is offering orientation classes and special training for those who wish to become licensed. Registered providers can care for up to eight children in their homes. For more information on the amnesty program and licensing procedures, contact the Maryland Child Care Resource Network at 1-800-766-4900.

Kids' view of layoffs

Losing a job is a family affair. While adults may worry about paying their bills and hanging on to their self-esteem, their children have other anxieties, such as thinking their parent is a bad person because he or she lost a job.

For parents who have been laid off, there is help: "When a Parent Loses a Job," a 36-page workbook published by the not-for-profit National Childhood Grief Institute of Edina, Minn. Through

questions, it tries to help children cope with the range of emotions associated with a parent's job loss. It also tries to turn a parent's layoff into a positive learning experience by asking children to list their parents' accomplishments outside of the job and ways to show parents that they're special. The book costs $8.95. For more information, contact The National Childhood Grief Institute, 3300 Edinborough Way, Suite 512, Minneapolis, Minn. 55435. Phone 612-832-9286.

Homeless in Legoland

Rumor had it that in order to be more relevant, Lego, makers of those colorful interlocking blocks, had added a plastic homeless person to some of their kits. FAO Schwarz heard it. So reportedly did other toy sellers. But a spokesman for Lego was confident that such gritty realities of urban life would never be packed into each box, which stretches children's imaginations from medieval England to the outer reaches of the galaxy. "Oh, there must be some mistake," said the spokesman. "You see, only smiling, happy people live in Legoland."


Worth noting:

* Tuesday Time Out, a series of six lectures of interest to families, begins tonight. The first talk is "How You Can Tell If Food Is A Problem" by Cynthia Kolodner. Subsequent lectures, on the first Tuesday of each month, will discuss communicating with teens, summer opportunities for children and co-dependency. The lectures are at 7:30 p.m. at 101 E. Chesapeake Ave. in Towson; they are sponsored by the Chesapeake Consortium, a non-profit group of professionals from many disciplines. For more information, phone 321-6327.

* Reading To Your Child helps parents and children enjoy reading together. Parents will learn how to choose appropriate books and how to read to children. The sessions will be at 9:15 a.m. Thursdays in January at the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills; they are free for JCC members. For more information, phone 356-5200, Ext. 347.

Family Forum welcomes items of interest to families. Notices about events must be received two weeks in advance. Send them to: Mary Maushard, Family Forum, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.

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