New re­source cen­ter to help Ce­cil day­care providers

Free help with con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion, busi­ness

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Day­care providers in Ce­cil County have a new source of in­for­ma­tion and sup­port through the Child Re­source Cen­ter of Har­ford and Ce­cil Coun­ties at Abil­i­ties Net­work/Project ACT.

“We work with fam­ily pro-

ABING­DON

viders in the home and with cen­ters in the class­room,” said Sarah Walm­s­ley, pro­gram man­ager of the or­ga­ni­za­tion lo­cated on Em­mor­ton Road in Abing­don.

That was good news to Jackie Boyer, who runs a day­care from her Elk­ton home.

“We as child care providers need classes to keep our li­cense up to date,” she said. “I wish there was one here in Ce­cil County. We have to drive down to Bal­ti­more or even far­ther to take a class on a Satur­day, and it is very in­con­ve­nient.”

Boyer wel­comed the news from Walm­s­ley that the Child­care Re­source Cen­ter would come to her.

“We travel into Ce­cil County to meet the needs of th­ese providers,” Walm­s­ley said, adding that the only ben­e­fit in com­ing to the Har­ford County lo­ca­tion is print­ing ser­vices for ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als.

There are 136 li­censed day­care providers in Ce­cil County, in­clud­ing 58 home care providers and 10 cen­ters in the Elk­ton zip code, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Fam­ily Net­work.

Chil­dren ages 5 to 9 make up the ma­jor­ity of those in care, fol­lowed by the 2 to 4-year-old age group. Some cen­ters of­fer eight to 12-hour care win­dows and still oth­ers only be­fore- and af­ter-school care op­tions.

At her Ris­ing Sun day­care, Laura Buskirk ap­pre­ci­ated the of­fer of as­sis­tance, but said she main­tains her li­cense through on­line classes.

“I per­son­ally don’t like go­ing to classes and only at­tend them if I can’t find them avail­able on­line at care­courses. com,” she said. “But I do think it’s great for many providers out there.”

Walm­s­ley said Tues­day that in home day­care providers as well as those in cen­ters will find a wealth of in­for­ma­tion to help with not only the child care el­e­ment, but also ed­u­ca­tion and the busi­ness side of the much-needed ser­vice. That in­cludes every­thing from li­cense com­pli­ance and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion to be­hav­ior and dis­ci­pline is­sues.

“We go in com­pletely free of charge and work with them,” Walm­s­ley said.

Fund­ing is pro­vided through grants is­sued by the Mary­land State De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

If more as­sis­tance is need- ed, Walm­s­ley said the cen­ter has ac­cess to other pro­grams and can make re­fer­rals.

While the cen­ter cel­e­brated its grand open­ing this week, in­clud­ing a Wed­nes­day rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony, Walm­s­ley said the cen­ter has al­ready held a din­ner meet­ing with lo­cal providers in Novem­ber with plans to con­struct a full sched­ule of train­ing and in­for­ma­tional meet­ings.

Providers don’t need to wait for those ses­sions though. Any­one with ques­tions or con­cerns can call 443-7610206.

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