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Keyword: social services

by Sharon Tyler, Program Manager, Baltimore County Department of Corrections

A father, incarcerated in a Maryland jail, was on the phone, reading a book with his son. “They finally have something to talk about together,” said the boy’s mother.

The Turning Pages Family Literacy Program at the Baltimore County Detention Center is reunifying incarcerated parents with their spouses and children. The program offers fathers the opportunity to bond with their children through reading, with the entire family often improving their literacy as they read together.

A team of experienced educators leads father’s workshops and Family Reading Club events. Inmates choose the books they want to read with their children, and receive instruction from volunteers on how to best engage the children. 

Dads and kids gain skills and confidence

The children are excited to visit their dads and spend one-on-one time with them. Children carry the books around, waiting to read to their dads on the phone. Sometimes the dads discuss serious issues with the children, and the books make it easier to talk. 

Over the eight-week program, the fathers cover four genres: stories, story books or classics, nonfiction, and issue-related titles devoted to everything from potty training to behavior. Four family reading events take place in the County Detention Center contact visitation room. Here, fathers read to their children and complete a literacy-related activity. Caregivers also meet to share how they are supporting their children’s literacy development.

Signs of success

Inmates have said they would never have read to their children if not for the Turning Pages program. Others have said they didn’t realize how much fun reading could be, and others report they initially were embarrassed by their own lack of reading skills, but now feel confident reading with their children. 

Months after the program, inmates and their children remain in contact, and literacy skills strengthen, as most parents continue to read aloud to their children and read independently for their own enjoyment.

Flo Kennedy-Stack, a retired Arbutus Middle School teacher who started the Turning Pages program at the Baltimore County corrections facility, sums it up: “Reading is so simple and so loving. The ripples of that simple loving act go out.” 

The Baltimore County Department of Corrections is focused on turning lives around with resources and programs ranging from drug treatment to job training. The department’s Turning Pages Family Reading Club has been recognized as a model program by the National Association of Counties. Visit for more information about the program.

Job seeker connecting with LabCorp representative at recent Healthcare Hiring Event at the Liberty Center on March 26, 2015Bryan Dunn, Marketing Specialist, Department of Economic & Workforce Development

If you live in the Randallstown area, you often drive down Liberty Road to go to Home Depot or Walmart, take the kids to the Randallstown Community Center or perhaps have dinner at the new Ruby Tuesday or Colin’s restaurant. One thing you may have missed is the life-changing work happening at Baltimore County’s Liberty Center, a formerly vacant grocery store on Offutt and Liberty Roads.

The Liberty Center is where over 11,000 people went to change their lives last year, with resources for anyone looking to hone a personal brand and compete in today’s job market.

Free to the public, Liberty Center focuses on career paths, not merely placing jobs. Liberty Center is where Candy Kriegar learned how to leverage her experience as a small business owner to land an administrative position with Utility Line Corporation.  It’s where Toyota Financial Services found Desitini Daniels, who went to Liberty Center to reboot her career after an employment contract ended.  RG Steel worker Robert Goode got the career counseling he needed to get hired as a welder.

 “We love what’s happening at Liberty.  Connecting job seekers with these amazing employers, that’s what it’s all about,” said Will Anderson, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.

Since opening in 2011, there has been no shortage of success, just as there is no shortage of opportunity – all it takes is a visit, and a commitment to the future.

Baltimore County Economic and Workforce Development, the Community College of Baltimore County and Social Services collaborate to deliver services and customized programs that get results. Utilizing the facility’s 2,500 student capacity, CCBC offers courses that train people for marketable jobs, while Workforce Development organizes onsite recruitments to help connect people with businesses that are hiring.

Liberty Center is one of three free career centers in Baltimore County, conveniently located in Randallstown, Hunt Valley and Eastpoint.   A convenient Mobile Career Center brings job search resources to communities throughout Baltimore County.  Stop in anytime and see how our career centers can change your life. You might just find your next job. And your next career.

Get directions to a Career Center and access the Mobile Career Center’s schedule of stops.

Don’t miss out on CCBC Randallstown’s Community Open House at the Liberty Center.

Find out more about Career Training and Community Education programs at CCBC Randallstown April 18, 12:00-3:00 pm, 3637 Offutt Road, Randallstown, MD 2113.  For more Open House information call 443-840-4700.

image of woman with outstretched armsGregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE
Director, Department of Health and Human Services
Health Officer and Director, Department of Health

Are you someone who likes to start the New Year on a promising note? Have you fallen into the trap of making goals or resolutions that you cannot meet? Well, Baltimore County has a number of tools that may be just the thing for you!

If you live, work, or play in Baltimore County, use the following tips to become a STAR and shoot towards a healthier you. If some of the tips don't apply to you, don't sweat it. Instead, share them with someone you know who could benefit from them.

Stop Smoking

If you are thinking about quitting or want to quit, Baltimore County has a number of different programs at various times and locations that may work for you. And, even better our smoking cessation classes are free.

Take the Test

What you don’t know could hurt you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 13 to 64 know their status. You can get free, anonymous testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases at a Department of Health clinic. Sharing this information is great, spreading an infection is not.

Adopt a Pet

Owning a pet can help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition, it’s a great antidote for loneliness that can also increase opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization.

There are numerous pets in Baltimore County that are in need of someone who will love and care for them. Consider opening your heart and home to an adoptable pet.

Remember to Schedule an Appointment

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Women can take care of their cervical and breast health by scheduling an annual mammogram and routine Pap test. These screenings may be available free of charge to income eligible women. Men, take care of the women you love, by reminding them to schedule these live-saving tests.

For more information about these tips, contact the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services by calling 410-887-BCHD (2243).

Revised September 26, 2016