- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Forum held to reach out to community
By AMANDA SCOTT
About 40 people attended the Calvert County Department of Social Services’ inaugural forum Oct. 2 in which the department presented information on its services.
The purpose of the forum, held at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick branch, was to inform Calvert County DSS community partners and agencies about what services are provided and to whom they are available, said Community Development Manager Timothy Pillard, who coordinated the forum.
“It was very successful. It went very smoothly, and there were talks of possibly doing it annually,” Pillard said.
The Calvert County DSS administers various Maryland Department of Human Resources services to low-income families and individuals, those with disabilities, the elderly and children in the county. The Maryland Department of Human Resources is the state’s human services provider.
Although the forum was meant for DSS community partners and agencies, Pillard said he believes the abundance of information that was provided will “definitely” benefit the residents of Calvert County. He said he thinks it also will eliminate the back-and-forth and misconceptions partner agencies might have about the available services.
Residents can apply for many of the department’s benefits, such as food assistance, medical assistance, temporary cash assistance and energy assistance, online at www.marylandsail.org.
The Calvert County Department of Social Services is at 200 Duke St. in Prince Frederick. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To contact the office, call 443-550-6900, or email email@example.com. For more information about the local department, go to www.dhr.state.md.us/blog/?p=201.
• In-home family preservation: The goal of in-home family preservation services is to enhance parents’ ability to create a safe, stable and nurturing home, prevent out-of-home placement of children and provide and coordinate the necessary services to achieve or maintain family safety, stability, independence and unity. Families identified with maltreatment of children constitute the majority of families in the program. For more information or applications, call the department of social services at 443-550-6900.
• Food supplement program/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: The food assistance program helps low-income people buy nutritious foods to maintain good health. SNAP is meant to supplement a person’s grocery budget. Applications can be filed online at www.marylandsail.org, or for more information, call 1-800-332-6347.
• Medical assistance: This program provides Medicaid health insurance for needy and low-income families and individuals. Typically, these individuals receive other public assistance. Applications can be filed online at www.marylandsail.org, or for more information, call 1-800-332-6347.
• Emergency assistance to families with children: Emergency cash assistance is available to families who need help paying an eviction notice, mortgage foreclosure, utility shutoff or other emergency bills. This program provides about $400 to families with children in the home. These funds are available once per year when funds are available. For single adults, the department can offer $250 through Salvation Army grant funds depending on the adults’ need. Applications can be filed online at www.marylandsail.org, or for more information, call 1-800-332-6347.
• Temporary cash assistance: When available resources do not fully address a family’s needs, this program helps provide temporary cash assistance to needy families with dependent children. While in the program, participants enter a workforce or job readiness program to prepare them for independence. Applications can be filed online at www.marylandsail.org, or for more information, call 1-800-332-6347.
• Energy assistance: The Maryland Energy Assistance Program helps low-income individuals pay their home electric and heating bills. Assistance is available for active electric/heating customers or those without the services. The program includes help paying current and past-due electric bills, and help implementing energy efficiency measures. Limited assistance is available to replace broken or inefficient furnaces. Applications can be filed online at www.marylandsail.org, or for more information, call 1-800-332-6347. To contact the local office of home energy, call 410-535-1010.
Adult and elderly services
• Adult protective services: The goal of the program is to prevent or remedy the abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation of adults who are unable to provide for their daily needs and protect their own interests. To report suspected adult abuse and/or neglect, call the local department of social services at 443-550-6900, or call 1-800-91-PREVENT (7383).
• In-home aide: The program provides aide services in the adult’s home to assist with personal care, chores and other activities of daily living. This program is for adults 18 years and older who have function disabilities and need assistance to remain in their homes. This is one of the largest and most utilized adult services in the county. For more information or to apply, contact the local department of social services at 443-550-6900.
• Project HOME: This is a program based on the adult foster care model that provides housing and case management to adults with disabilities, vulnerable adults and those who cannot live independently. Currently, there are four certified homes in the county for this service and there are nine residents participating in the service. There is a need for more adult foster homes. For more information or to apply, contact the local department of social services at 443-550-6900.
• Temporary disability assistance program: The program provides limited cash assistance to low-income individuals with a disability who do not have dependent children and have no other resources. The temporary assistance is available while the individual waits for federal disability support. An applicant’s disability must be documented by a medical professional. Benefits may be available for up to 12 months out of a 36-month period. Applications can be filed online at www.marylandsail.org, or for more information, call 1-800-332-6347.
• Foster care: The goal of foster care is to reunite the child/children with the biological family in 15 to 22 months. If that is not possible, then kinship placement, guardianship and custody are sought. Adoption is a last resort. Currently, there are 99 children in foster care in the county. Of those 99 children, 31 are under the age of 5. A majority of those children are in kinship care. Since October 2012, there has been an increase in the number of children in the program. A majority of the cases seen are related to substance abuse. In 2012, 82 percent of the children removed from their home were removed because of substance-related activity in the home. For more information, call the local department of social services at 443-550-6900.
• Child protective services: The program investigates reported child abuse and neglect, determines what services or plans are required to protect the child and then initiates those services or plans. The case load varies because each report is investigated. The division is staffed 24/7 to respond to abuse or neglect. Investigators have 60 days to investigate the report and present their findings. To report suspected child abuse and/or neglect, call 443-550-6900. To report an incident after hours, call 1-866-898-9848.
• Child support enforcement program: The goal of this program is to assist families with collecting child support from parents who are not in the home. Child support is a court-ordered payment requiring the non-custodial parent to pay the custodial parent for the care of the child. Services in this program include establishing the paternity of the child/children, establishing a court order for child support and collecting current and past due child support payments. For more information or to apply, call the local social services department at 443-550-6900.
• Purchase of care program: This is a child care subsidy program providing financial assistance with child care costs to eligible working families. In addition to helping with the cost of child care, the program also helps locate a child care provider. Eligible participants receive a voucher from the department of social services to take to the provider of their choice, either a regulated, licensed center or home, or an informal, self-arranged provider, such as a family member. For more information or to apply, go to www.msde.maryland.gov/MSDE/divisions/child_care/subsidy/ccs.htm, or call the local department of social services at 443-550-6900.