Rotarians help furnish new foster family visitation center

 Cecil Whig – Josh Sannon (July 25, 2011) Donations from the Elkton Rotary Club will help furnish the Cecil County Department of Social Services’ new foster family visitation center, set to open next month.

 On Friday, DSS staff picked up a carload of kitchen supplies from R.T. Foard Funeral Home in Elkton, where club members dropped off the supplies. Donations included a toaster, slow cooker, towels, glasses and other basic cooking supplies, said club President Carol England.

 DSS director Nick Ricciuti said various charitable organizations have volunteered to furnish different rooms in the center, which will be located in Pleasant Hill. The center is funded by private donations, not state dollars, he said.

 The center will give parents whose children are in foster care a home-like setting in which to have supervised visits with their kids. Rather than the parent and child having to meet in an office or at a restaurant, the building will provide a more relaxed place where social workers can also teach basic parenting skills.

 Some parents in that situation may struggle with bathing their baby, preparing a healthy meal or just playing with their children, Ricciuti said.

 “It’s an area where we can show parents the proper way to be a parent,” Ricciuti said. “Our goal is to reunite kids with their families but also to keep them safe. The family visitation center is the way to do that.”

 Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties have similar visitation centers, which have proved successful, he said.

 The center will be housed in a converted one-story ranch house at 2400 Blue Ball Road and will be named the Jerry Sanders House, in honor of a retired DSS employee. The location provoked outcry earlier this year from neighbors who worried about parking, traffic and crime problems.


Filed in: Adoption and Foster Care, Cecil County, DHS News, In the Press, Local News

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