HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — One of the biggest challenges as many of us head back to the office is finding good and affordable child care again. Well, a new resource center that just opened up in western Maryland today is looking to help with that.
The childcare resource center, Childcare Choices opened up under Maryland’s Family Network Plan and Maryland’s Mental Health Association.
Program director Patty Morrison said they now offer training and technical assistance for child care providers across Washington County, Allegheny County, and Garrett county to help them maintain their license and learn new skills.
“So childcare providers need to have training in order to maintain their license, but they also need the training to go above and beyond minimum licensing requirements. So one of the things that we do is help them with those quality initiatives. So we might go into their program to help them with their room arrangement or their environment. We might go in and help them with some tools or strategies that might help them maintain calm in the classroom,” said Morrison.
They also assist with state and national accreditation.
The resource center will also be a place for families to find great child care options by assisting parents through the process of applying for scholarships to get affordable care for their kids.
“That’s a system that parents traditionally have found a little bit difficult to navigate, but yet with the State Opening up the income guidelines for that and having more money available to families to offset the cost of childcare. We help the families navigate that system to find out if they’re eligible for the childcare scholarship and be to help them through the process so that they can afford childcare,” she said.
Morrison said she’s excited their program is expanding to Western Maryland.
“We also find particularly with family childcare providers, that the human connection is so important family childcare providers, in particular, work alone. So having that networking opportunity and being in person we are finding that providers really enjoy that. So that’s always good to have but really having the physical presence I think is important so people can gather,” she said.
Their office in downtown Hagerstown will also offer a resource room where providers can use their lamination machines, art wax, and more. “
“Providers can run their laminated poster through and it puts a thin coating of wax on and they can put it on the wall without damaging the walls if they want to take it off and move it so that kind of helps them get set up for their business,” said Morrison.