Baltimore County News
May is National Foster Care Month - Honoring, Uniting and Celebrating Families
The Baltimore County Department of Social Services is seeking individuals and couples interested in becoming resource parents. Currently Baltimore County has over 550 children in foster care.
Resource parents are those who foster or adopt children in need of care, including relatives of those children. Foster care provides children with a safe, stable, and nurturing home environment while the parents and other family members are offered services intended to remedy the problem that led to the child’s placement in foster care. Foster care is meant to be temporary, as the ultimate goal is to reunify children with their parents whenever possible.
“As a foster parent myself, I have found that the rewards of opening my heart and home allowed a child to be rescued and hope to be restored,” said Director of the Baltimore County Department of Social Services Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “I am asking eligible residents to please consider changing a life by sharing yours.”
To be a resource parent, you need to:
- Have patience, flexibility and a commitment to children
- Be over age 21
- Be able to meet your family’s financial obligations
- Have room for a child
- Be in good physical and mental health
- Agree to have a background check, including criminal background
- Agree not to smoke around the foster child, including both in your home and in the car
To become a resource parent, you must:
- Attend an information meeting
- Complete a registration and authorization for clearance forms
- Complete 30 hours of pre-service training
- Obtain your first aid and CPR certifications
- Complete the home study approval process
If you are interested in becoming a resource parent, staff will be assigned to work with you to provide training and ongoing support throughout the home study process and after a child is accepted into your home. Financial and medical assistance are also provided.
For more information on becoming a resource parent, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/resourceparent or call 410-853-3170.
Show Highlights FY 17 Budget, Resource Parenting and BCPS History
The May edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” highlights Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, promotes foster and adoptive parenting and shines a spotlight on a new book that covers the history of each Baltimore County public school.
Could You be a Resource Parent? – Learn how becoming a foster or adoptive parent can change lives.
Proposed FY 17 Budget – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz shares details of his fiscally responsible budget proposal.
“Building the Future” Book Available – Learn about the rich history of Baltimore County schools, captured in pictures and stories, in this book authored by a retired BCPS art educator.
To view streaming video of the show, go to the Hello Baltimore County page at http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Videos/hellobaltimorecounty.html . Click on the menu icon in the upper left of the video screen to select an individual segment.
In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:
Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 9 p.m.
Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.
Thursdays: 1 p.m., 8 p.m.
Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
Saturdays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
Sundays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
– Recognized for Streamlining Social Services Approvals Process
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County has won the prestigious “Bright Idea Award” from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government through their 2015 Innovation in American Government Program. The award praises the County’s Social Services Eligibility Determination Improvement project.
This project overhauled the County’s social services application and eligibility process for critical programs like food stamps, temporary cash assistance, medical assistance and temporary disability assistance.
The new process, developed in-house by the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology (OIT), significantly improved the way requests are handled by shifting HHS case workers from handling individual caseloads to a more effective team-based caseload management system. The County now uses technology to replace a paper-based approval process, reducing backlogs and improving work quality, as well as providing for employee skill set development.
“I am very proud of our HHS and OIT Directors Branch and Stradling and their staffs for taking the initiative to use the latest technology to better meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable County residents,” said Kamenetz. “Now, our social services offices are much better equipped to meet the ever-increasing demand for assistance by providing superior customer service. This is the way government is supposed to work.”
The implementation of the project resulted in the following improvements:
- Average application completion times improved by 70% (from 7.8 days to 2.3 days); reapproval times improved by 65% (from 9.8 days to 3.4).
- Expected completion time of 96% dropped from 15.9 to 6.5 days for applications (57% improvement) and from 27.6 to 9.47 days for reapprovals (66% improvement)
About the Award
Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, John F. Kennedy School of Government's “Bright Idea Award” serves to highlight and promote creative government initiatives and partnerships so that government leaders, public servants, and other individuals can learn about noteworthy ideas and can adopt those initiatives that can work in their own communities.
“Finding innovative ways to meet the growing demand for our services is an ongoing challenge,” said Director of Health and Human Services, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “Successful implementation of this project is helping us to better serve our customers.”
Revised April 6, 2016