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Frequently Asked Questions
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Safety

Q. How do I deal with paints and household chemicals?
A. The Waste Management and Community Hygiene Section should be contacted by calling 410-887-4066 for information concerning the proper storage and handling of household chemicals and for the dates, times and locations of the drop-off centers and collection events in their area.

Q. What is child abuse and neglect?
A. From time to time, many of us may observe behavior towards children that we feel is inappropriate. Child abuse and neglect are legal terms and are defined by the Maryland Family Law Article 5-701 as:

"Abuse" means:

1. the physical or mental injury of a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household member, under circumstances that indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed; or

2. sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not. Sexual abuse means any act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member.

"Neglect" means:

 the leaving of a child unattended or other failure to provide proper care and attention to a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child under circumstances that indicate:

1. that the child's health or welfare is harmed or placed at substantial risk of harm; or

2. mental injury to the child or a substantial risk of mental injury.

"Mental injury" means:

the observable, identifiable, and substantial impairment of a child's mental or psychological ability to function.

If you believe a child is being abused or neglected, contact the Department of Social Services by calling 410-887-2800 to discuss this situation with our Screening Unit.

Q. How old does my child have to be before I can allow her/him to be home alone?
A. The fire code, the most commonly referred to law on this subject, states that a child under the age of 8 must be in the care of a person who is at least 13 years old. Generally, it is left up to the parent's judgment to decide whether a child who is 8 or older is mature enough to be home alone. Anytime you leave your child alone, be sure the child knows what to do in the event of an emergency.

Baltimore County Department of Social Services' Child Protective Services (CPS) may become involved if a child of any age is left alone and is placed at risk of harm because he/she is unable to manage on his/her own. CPS may also become involved if your child's babysitter or caretaker is unable to properly care for her. This is particularly important if you have an older child babysitting your child. Is the babysitter responsible? Is she mature? Is she emotionally and intellectually able to handle the job?

Q. What should I do if I see unsupervised children in my neighborhood and I am worried about their safety?
A. Call the Baltimore County Police at 911. They will make an immediate assessment of the child's safety and if necessary, the police will contact Child Protective Services at the Department of Social Services.

If you have a general concern and there is not an immediate issue of the child's safety, you can call 410-887-2800 to discuss the situation with our screening unit. Depending on what you have observed, a child neglect investigation might result.

Q. My aunt is in a nursing home and I don't feel she is getting the care she needs. She had a bed sore that was untreated for several days and looks very bad. What can I do?
A. Call the Nursing Home Ombudsman program. These are advocates for nursing home residents and can investigate problems involving their care and well-being. Call 410-887-4200 to discuss your complaint.

Q. How do we know that Baltimore County's restaurants are safe?
A. Restaurants in Baltimore County are routinely inspected per their priority rating as required by Baltimore County Food Service Facilities Regulations and CODE OF MARYLAND REGULATIONS - 10.15.03 - Food Service Facilities. These inspections are unannounced and include evaluations of food handling techniques and the physical condition of the facility.

All complaints concerning Food Service Facilities are investigated and if the complainants are known, they will be contacted and given the results of the investigations. Any complaints, concerns and/or questions should be referred to the Office of Food Protection and Health by calling 410-887-3663.

Q. What can I do if I suspect Lead Paint and Lead Dust in my home?
A. Baltimore County Government has several agencies that are responsible for administering the Lead Program. The following is a listing of the different agencies and their responsibilities:

Department of Health, Bureau of Public Health Nursing
Phone: 410-887-2705
Responsibilities: lead education, medical care and tracking of lead poisoned children.

Department of Environmental Protection & Resource Management, Office of Food Protection and Health
Phone: 410-887-3663
Responsibilities: lead education, lead abatement enforcement, environmental surveys of lead-poisoned children's homes, home-owner education on lead paint & lead dust, and regulatory enforcement of lead paint hazards, and required interim control measures.

Department of Permits and Development Management, Division of Code Inspections and Enforcement, Lead Hazard Control
Responsibilities: lead education to the tenants and landlords as required by HB 760, monitoring lead hazards in rental properties as required by Baltimore County laws and regulations, and regulatory enforcement action.

Office of Community Conservation, Housing Opportunities Program
Phone:410-887-3124
Responsibilities: Provides loan assistance to low and moderate income home owners and/or small investors for the elimination of lead paint hazards.

Q. What services does EPS offer?
A. We respond to and investigate complaints related to the following to insure that problems are corrected and do not re-occur:

  • hazardous chemical and petroleum product spills
  • landfills
  • recycling facilities
  • trash trucks
  • rodents and other animals
  • insects
  • trash dumping
  • private wells and septic systems
  • indoor air quality, including asbestos, at Baltimore County residences, schools and governmental facilities
  • nuisance dust
  • sediment control

We monitor ground waters and surface waters at landfills, recycling facilities, and bathing beaches.

We monitor private water supplies at small businesses, churches, schools, and other facilities which serve the public.

We operate drop-off centers for household hazardous chemical wastes from Baltimore County residents. Wastes include: automotive fluids, paints, pesticides, pool chemicals, solvents, etc.

We provide assistance to communities in organizing and generating community clean-up programs.

Q. What do I do if I am bitten by a dog or cat?
A. The wound site should be thoroughly cleaned and flushed with soap, water and antiseptic. If the owner of the animal is known, the police should be called. If the animal is a stray and can be safely confined, contact Animal Control by calling 410-887-5961 to arrange pickup of the animal. If the dog or cat escapes, call the Police to report the incident. Call the Baltimore County Health Department at 410-887-2729 on the next business day so that further recommendations can be made on rodent prevention and eradication measures and ensure that the trash is cleaned up.

If someone is bitten by any animal that is obviously sick or behaving abnormally, seek immediate medical evaluation. If the animal is available, it must be evaluated by a licensed veterinarian or turned over to Animal Control. The Police and Baltimore County Department of Health should also be immediately notified. The 24-hour emergency on-call number for the Health Department is 410-832-7179.

Revised December 16, 2013

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