March 2020

A publication of the Howard County Office of Children and Families
Family Institute
How to Talk to your Child about COVID-19 from PBS , click here .
Parent webinar from PEP , here . Additional resources to talk to your children can be found at SAMHSA , UNDERSTOOD and the CDC .
The Office of Children and Families office, located at 9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD will be closed to the public until further notice. 

In accordance with State and Federal recommendations and recent guidance to practice social distancing to flatten the curve and help stem the spread of the COVID- 19, Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS)/Office of Children and Families (OCF) will scale back the delivery of non-critical services over the next 45 days, which includes Parents As Teachers home visits, Behavior Consultation and Child Care Technical Assistance site visits. We are looking to establish ways where we can deliver home visits and consultation virtually, which will include phone, email, or video conferencing.
In light of concerns for our participants and Howard County residents, we will be canceling or postponing all scheduled special events, programs, classes including child care and parent trainings and on-site workshops at child care facilities. If you are currently scheduled for a workshop, you will be contacted with a reschedule date. We are exploring available training options to meet your needs.
Upcoming events that will be postponed include Books and Brunch/Dinner , Director’s Professional Development Institute , and the Children’s Discovery Fair . The Howard County Child Care Resource Room will be closed until further notice.
For questions, contact the CARE Line at 410-313-CARE (2273) or email [email protected]  
To stay informed on Howard County coronavirus updates, please follow social media for the  Center for Disease Control , the  Maryland D epartment of Health , the  Howard County Health Departm ent , the  Howard County Government , and  Howard County Executive Calvin Ball
Family Life In the Age of the Coronavirus:
Parenting Survival Strategies
PEP Online Workshop, FREE click
Learn key strategies to provide structure and set realistic expectations for yourself and your kids. In this workshop, routines, how to create  a reasonable daily schedule, and problem solving with your children will be discussed.
Activities to do at Home With Your Children

ReadyRosie A video library showing parents how to make everyday moments learning moments. Howard County families can register today for FREE. Click here to register.

Healthy at Home There is a new free section on the Ready Rosie website aimed at providing video content from pediatricians, also unlocking existing content from the library of Modeled Moment and Research and Answer Videos.

Howard County Library - Online Resources, study guides, e-content for kids, language learning, online magazines and study guides for tests such as drivers test and SAT/ACT.

PBS Kids provides a variety of helpful hints, tools and daily newsletter for parents:
- Help Your Child Learn & Grow Get age-by-age (two - eight) tips and activities for: emotions, math, science, literacy and arts. Click here
-Daniel Tiger APPS for Parents Over two dozen of the most popular songs with modeling videos clips covering important topics like feelings, self-control, and responsibility. Conversation starters and tips for parents with practical ways to use Daniel Tiger songs in everyday life (in English and Spanish) Click here
-Visuals to help with handwashing and young children , click here

National Geographic provides free resources for families. Kids at home can keep their brains engaged with science experiments, homework resources, videos and more.

Pinterest A v ariety of ideas. The favorite Boxination ideas, here

Toddler Approved Simple tips and play ideas for toddler parents with free downloads for things such as, daily/ weekly schedules, family connection, easy math, independent reading ideas, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), sensory activities, movement, and chores.

Virtual music class for infants and toddlers.

Learn in Color This site links to over 75 educational indoor activities , recommendations for historic and science movies for children, free online tours for museums and podcasts.

12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours Visit museums virtually at home. Add learning to mealtime, bathtime, bedtime, or anytime with more than 1,000 fun, free activities for children birth to five with this app.

Sesame Street Younger children can choose from hundreds of the show's video clips and play games that help them learn letters, animal sounds, rhymes, colors, and more.

Scholastic An educational websites for kids. This site contains activities geared from pre-K to seniors in high school.

CoolMath (Ages 13 and up) O nline math games that help with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, money and more. (Ages 3 through 12). (For pre-k)

TIME for Kids is complete with articles, photos and videos. S ome of the topics geared for children are p olitics, the environment, entertainment, sports, and health. This interactive educational website tackles subjects that are current news events.

National Geographic Kids Watch animal cameras, learn interesting tidbits about animals, see and share photos of nature, learn about different countries and try science experiments. Includes a "Little Kids" section for the younger explorers.

How Stuff Works When your child wants to know why the sky is blue, how a tornado forms or any number of other questions they can come up with on a daily basis.

Starfall The site covers topics from letter recognition to reading plays, nonfiction, and comics.

The KIDZ Page has more than 5,000 pages of learning games and activities. Online coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles and word games are just a few sections of this site.

Fun Brain Math, reading, online books and learning games catered to pre-k through 8. G ames that allow children to explore their creativity, play dress-up, learn new music, put together puzzles and work on numbers and shape recognition.

Exploratorium A website that teaches kids about science and art through tinkering with gadgets, go below the sea, rocket into the galaxy and learn about the science of gardening, animals, and cells.

BBC History for Kids Games, quizzes and fact sheets take kids on a journey where they walk through ancient history and world history of many countries.

Learning Games for Kids Games that teach spelling, social studies, brain, science, art, vocabulary, literature and keyboarding games.

Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids Features riddles, puzzles, question of the day, a timeline of history facts, sky events and weather conditions to track at home with your children.
Screen time issues are challenging now with so much time spent at home and away from friends and family. Visit Screenagers to learn many ways to help manage technology rules and usage in your home.
ADDitude Webinar: March 19, 2 p.m. 
W orried about an academic freefall where you end up playing the homework police all day, while also working from home? Learn solutions on how to apply structure to this unstructured time.
Visual Strategies Toolbox
Change creates anxiety, especially for children on the autism spectrum. Having a Visual Strategies Toolbox filled with a few important tools can help families manage so they can experience family harmony. Visit Linda Hodgdon's blog post to access the toolkit and the visual strategies information.
Comcast Internet Essentials 
Effective March 16, Comcast is offering two months free to new Internet Essentials customers, in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) program participants are eligible to complete an application. Find details at .
C hild and A dolescent R esources and E ducation
410-313-CARE (2273) (voice/ relay) or [email protected]

Howard County provides a FREE information and referral service for people who have questions about children in Howard County. The CARE line staff works with families to identify their needs and help find solutions. Topics include: county resources, behavior issues, finding child care, school age programs and camps, child care assistance, special needs, parenting classes, health/mental health concerns, grandparent support, financial assistance, and support groups.

Are you looking for child care now? Locate: Child Care is working with the provider community to identify programs that are currently open and have vacancies.
Locate: Child Care has extended their hours to 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday - Friday.
Call: 877-261-0060 or visit here .
Free “Grab-N-Go” Nutritious Meals

Beginning March 17, HCPSS will be providing free “Grab-N-Go” nutritious meals to anyone age 18 and under at four school sites and five mobile sites. Meals will be available from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., weekdays, Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 27.

School Sites:
·      Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City
·      Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia
·      Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
·      Cradlerock Elementary School/Lake Elkhorn Middle School, 6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia

Mobile Sites:
·      Laurel Woods Elementary School Parking Lot, 9250 North Laurel Road, Laurel
·      Ducketts Lane Elementary School Parking Lot, 6501 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge
·      Bushy Park Elementary School Parking Lot, 14601 Carrs Mill Road, Glenwood
·      Monarch Mills Apartments, 7600 Monarch Mills Way, Columbia
·      Forest Ridge Apartments, 5890 Stevens Forest Rd, Columbia
Howard County Public School System, Updates

Many of the questions the school received are around continued instruction and academic requirements, including the impact of this closure on graduation and standardized testing. On Friday, all HCPSS students went home with a document that detailed ideas for engaging them in learning activities while schools are closed. These resources are posted online and have been translated into multiple languages. While the activity ideas do not represent the same level of instruction that occurs in school, they are intended to help keep students stay intellectually active while they are at home during this closure.

To see daily updates for families and staff, visit the HCPSS website , to find all updates, information and answers to frequently asked questions will be posted regularly.
Maryland Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services in an effort to protect families from the spread of Coronavirus is asking for residents to utilize the below tools for accessing benefits.  

To apply for benefits with DSS: 
·    Apply online here for SNAP (Food Stamps) and Cash Assistance programs.
·    Here for Medical Assistance and Health Insurance
·    Here for Long Term Care
·    Call 1-800-332-6347 to request a paper application and mail, email or fax to local office. Email: [email protected] . Fax 410-872-4231
Residents can submit any required documentation via the MYDHR portal or via email:
·      Child support: [email protected]
·      FIA: [email protected]

To check status or have questions:
·      Check MYDHR account for case updates
·      Contact the call center at 1-800-332-6347 Monday-Friday 8:30- 5:00,
call 410-872-8700, or email [email protected]
To report abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult, please call child protective services at 410-872-4203 or adult protective services at 410-872-8823.
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