The Dundalk Eagle
Initatives to help families with young children
Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. and Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams on Thursday announced two new initiatives – Childcare Subsidies and Academic Support Centers – designed to help support families of young children during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are pleased that county government and local service providers are working to provide structured environments to assist students with virtual learning and assist families with childcare,” said Superintendent Williams. “Simultaneously, BCPS is continuing to develop its plans to bring small groups of students back into our classrooms as early as November. Today, I will be releasing a timeline with more details about how we will schedule staff and student reentry.”
Olszewski has allocated up to $7 million to provide childcare subsidies for working families with children ages 5 to 12.
The program aims to support lowincome working parents who are not able to stay home to manage their children’s remote learning. Eligible families will receive a subsidy of up to $250 per week per child to cover the cost of care at any childcare provider licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).
Families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits where all parents or guardians in the household are employed will be eligible.
To streamline program access, potentially eligible families will receive a letter with instructions on how to access the online application portal.
Letters will be mailed to families by September 28. Families that believe they may be eligible but are not receiving SNAP can apply for SNAP and other assistance at the state’s Department of Human Resources website or call311 to be connected to the MarylandCASH campaign for a benefits eligibility screening.
Academic Support Centers
In addition, the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, the Y of Central Maryland, and other local daycare providers will open academic support centers to provide fullday, in-person childcare for families of children in Kindergarten to Grade 5.
The centers will offer support for virtual learning as well as recreational activities. Students will be grouped in cohorts of up to 14 students.
Social distancing and mitigation strategies will be followed, and meals will be provided. SNAP recipients who receive County Childcare Subsidies may use them at the academic support centers.
The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks will host Learning Centers at its nine PAL Centers sites around the County.
These centers are designed to serve disconnected youth identified by the Baltimore County Department of Social Services. These families will be invited to participate, and care will be offered at no cost to the families. Transportation will be available.
Meals will be provided by the Maryland Food Bank. Following MSDE approval, these centers will run daily Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. — 6 p.m.
A second group of centers, operated by the Y of Central Maryland, will open in five BCPS elementary schools. The centers will operate beginning Monday, October 5, and will run daily Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Meals will be provided by Baltimore County Public Schools.
Fees range from $225 — $250 per week per child. Interested families can apply online now. SNAP recipients who receive County Childcare Subsidies may use them at the academic support centers.
An additional 40 centers, located in
BCPS elementary schools, will open Monday, Oct. 12, and will be operated by local daycare providers – Hot Spots Extended Care Program, Kids Place Baltimore, Open Door Before and After School Care, and Play Centers, Inc.
Depending on the provider, these centers will begin offering care either at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. All will end at 6 p.m.
Meals will be provided by Baltimore County Public Schools. These centers will charge $250 — $275 per week per child for fulltime care.
Families interested in these centers should contact the appropriate daycare provider for registration information. SNAP recipients who receive County Childcare Subsidies may use them at the academic support centers.
In total, the 54 academic support centers will be able to serve 1,552 students across Baltimore County.
The list of Baltimore County’s Academic Support Centers is below:
Opening Schedule for Baltimore County Academic Support Centers
Operated by the Department of Recreation and Parks
Dundalk PAL Center, 15 Commerce Pl., 21222; Mars Estates PAL Center, 1498 East Homberg Ave., 21221.