Howard County has expanded child services with three new staff members to help parents and grandparents find appropriate programs -- from behavior problems to after-school care.
Paid for with more than $393,000 in state and county funds, the added services were labeled "The Care Center" at an announcement Wednesday at Meadowbrook Park in Ellicott City.
Susan Rosenbaum, county citizens services director, said more office space is being sought to house the new program.
The workers -- an information specialist and two behavioral specialists -- are in the county's Office of Children's Services at 3300 N. Ridge Road, Suite 380, and have been working for most of the summer.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman publicized the program at the Ellicott City playground to inform parents who may need services.
"As the father of two young children, I understand how difficult it can be to find the services and resources you need, when you need them," he said.
Reba Nelson, 55, of Columbia came to the news conference to tell about her experience getting help when her twin 3-year-old grandchildren suddenly became permanent residents with her.
"I didn't know what to do," she said, explaining that she works full time after raising three sons, and neither of the children's parents could care for them.
After her call to the county, a worker visited her home and signed both children up for Head Start classes at the Harriet Tubman Center next to Atholton High School.
"What we're going to do is help people navigate all the programs for children they might be eligible for," said Debbie Yare, the county programs manager.
Anyone needing services for children or adolescents can call 410-313-2273 or go tochildren@howardcountymd. gov.