UPPER MARLBORO – For most local parents with children under the age of 12, it may take a while to find the right daycare center. However, with the assistance of the Prince George’s Child Resource Center, those parents are able to find the best child care providers who are licensed to educate and supervise adolescents. […]
UPPER MARLBORO – For most local parents with children under the age of 12, it may take a while to find the right daycare center.
However, with the assistance of the Prince George’s Child Resource Center, those parents are able to find the best child care providers who are licensed to educate and supervise adolescents.
On Oct. 7, approximately 1,400 children, families, community leaders and early childhood advocates gathered at Watkins Regional Park to celebrate the 25-year
anniversary of the Prince George’s Child Resource Center. The event is the kick-off for a year-long series of activities designed to raise awareness in the county about the vital role of early learning and child care, healthy care, nutrition, family support and provider training. Attendees enjoyed playground activities, free pumpkins, carousel and hayrides and dental screenings from the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Dental Van.
“The most important thing we can do to strengthen our community and ensure a brighter future is to provide high-quality early childhood care, education, and family support,” said Marti Worshtil, executive director of the Prince George’s Child Resource Center. “Helping children get the best start in life means providing parents the support they need and ensuring child-care teachers get quality education and training.”
Since 1990, the Prince George’s Child Resource Center has been working to help make sure families have access to quality, affordable childcare, health care and other services. Each year the resource center supports more than 1,500 families and trains more than 2,000 child care providers, parents and human services professionals.
“To be able to survive in the nonprofit world for 25 years and providing resources for a community proves that the work the resource center does with local children and their families is critical to the community,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III. “They are one of the best nonprofits in Prince George’s County and are filling in that gap the government can’t fill. That is going to make the young people prepared for school, it is going to have the parents be better parents, it is also going to let the parents and caregivers understand what resources you can access from the government.”
Approximately one-third of Prince George’s children entering kindergarteners have the skills and behaviors needed to succeed. With more than 60,000 residents in Prince George’s County under the age of five, investments in high-quality childhood care and education, health care and family support services set the foundation for better schools, safer communities, and a stronger workforce.
“I chose to volunteer with the resource center because it is one of the most well run organizations out here. The Catalogue For Philanthropy calls the resource center ‘one of the best small charities’ in the greater Washington area,” said Tiyana McMillan, M&T Bank and Resource Center Board President-Elect. “While we are proud of our progress, we continue to face significant challenges to make sure children reach their full potential. Everyday I am impressed with Marti, Jennifer and all of the center’s staff because they are not only efficient, but also care deeply for the children and the families.”
According to the resource center’s funder and partner, the Maryland Family Network, the Prince George’s Child Care Resource center was one of three centers in the state set up as pilot program for funders and policy makers to determine would the center be used. Because of their success, the network was expanded.
“We now have 12 childcare resource centers and 26 family support centers. The Prince George’s County one is the only one with both a childcare resource center and family support center,” said Linda Ramsey, Maryland Family Network deputy director.
Maryland Family Network Inc., as operator of the Statewide Child Care Resource Network, has prepared the Child Care Demographics Maryland Report series for those interested in childcare trends across the state. The series includes reports for the state, for each of Maryland’s 23 counties, and the city of Baltimore.
The organization feels privileged to be in partnership with the child resource center and is excited to see its progression over the years.
“Whenever I’m at these kinds of events, I’m always reminded of the old African proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ I realize that it is true. No one group, organization or individual can do this alone. This is proof that it takes a village of people to collaborate all of the resources,” Ramsey said.
Linda Caler, Zootastic Adventures For Little People, is also excited that the child resource center is celebrating 25 years. Caler experienced difficulty in searching for what she wanted in a local childcare program for her children, so she started her own educational program.
“When I first opened my doors, I took in a young man with special needs, but the parents and I didn’t know how to handle some things. So I called up the child resource center and they had a program called ‘Wise Intervention Now,’” Caler said. “They come out and help providers with children who are having some kind of difficulty. They did an amazing job of training myself and my staff how to manage children’s emotions and how to be helpful. It was such a powerful program to get involved with.”
After the training, Caler decided to take additional children with special needs because of the “amazing support system and additional training” she had in the child resource center. The center also provides training to the parents if they express interest in practicing the techniques in the household as well.
“It was great having someone say ‘we’re here, we have your back,’” Caler said.
According to the Maryland Family Network, 154,801 employed mothers in Prince George’s County have children under the age of 12 in a local daycare center. The average cost of full-time childcare for children from infant to five-years-old is between $100 and $232 per week. Although daycare costs have increased, the need for adequate child care is still on the rise.
“When we talk about nonprofits in the county who are doing it right, they’re it,” Baker said. “They stand out head and shoulders as great leadership in the county. I would like to see them grow and expand throughout the county because they are good people doing good work for children.”