Free Family Support Center inaugurated in Howard

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The city of Columbia, Maryland, opened a Family Support Center (FSC) on Monday, which offers comprehensive, family-centered, community-based preventive programs at no cost to parents and caregivers from the birth of their children. up to five years old.

In a location located at 9790 Patuxent Woods Drive in Columbia, the center began operating this week, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

«The first years of a child's life are some of the most critical in their development and learning, as much of their brain development occurs during that period, with more than a million new neural connections forming every second» Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said during the center's inaugural ribbon cutting.

“With the opening of this Family Support Center, we ensure that our youngest residents along with their parents and caregivers have the resources they need to build a strong foundation for later learning, behavior and health,” said Ball, who based on the traditional saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” to highlight the importance of neighborhood support for the program.

She also said the center is overseen by the Howard County Office of Children and Families, “with the goal of helping parents and caregivers with the challenges of raising young children by offering comprehensive and free services, resources and referrals.”

However, he cautioned that this is not a daycare, as some might assume.

Along with these programs, consideration has also been given to immigrant parents, who make up a consistent percentage at Howard, to whom Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs will be taught.

throughout the state

During the ceremony, it was announced that, through the Plan for Maryland's Future, Family Support Centers will expand throughout the state.

“I'm here to introduce one of the first expansion sites, here in Howard County,” said Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS) Director Jacqueline Scott.

"Our staff - Scott explained - dedicated many hours of careful and thoughtful planning to the creation of this space and determined that its co-location is a vital component to better serve our families."

The center will also provide programs to parents to help them learn job readiness skills and build strong social networks, while providing their children, up to age five, with access to a state-of-the-art childcare and education environment.”

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