County Human Services Deliver Seamless Support for Community Members in Crisis

At the MACo Winter Conference session, Constituents in Crisis: Human Services to the Rescue!, audience members learned about the broad continuum of county agencies and programs that are dedicated to providing community-based services to address the special needs of children, families, older adults, and persons with disabilities.

Christine Kay, Director of the Carroll County Department of Citizen Services started the panel off with explanation of how county human service agencies (also known as citizen services or community services among other titles) are the umbrella organization for delivering a comprehensive system of person-centered services through innovative community engagement to improve the future for all generations. This umbrella typically includes aging, local management boards, housing, and other community centered agencies fellow panelists discussed in more detail.

Human Services to Rescue

Michael Clark, Chief of Housing & Family Services in the Division of Housing & Local Management Board for Queen Anne’s County presented on Local Management Boards. Each county and Baltimore City has a local management board which work to identity priorities and target resources for communities and serve as the coordinator of collaboration for child and family services. They are the nexus of local input and control of state and other funding to meet the community needs.

The Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Gregory Branch, presented on the ABCs of what social service departments provide.  A – Adult Services such as adult protective services, adult foster care, in home aides, social services, and homeless grants. B – Benefits such as food supplement programs federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program/SNAP), federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/TANF, Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP), and energy assistance. C- Child Welfare Services such as child protective services, family preservation services, foster care & adoption, independent living services, and resource parenting. In Maryland social services are overseen on a state level but administered through local county offices.

The panel concluded with Donna Blackwell from MAC, Inc. discussing Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). There is an AAA for each county in Maryland. They serve as advocates for older adults and the lead agencies for Maryland Access Point services which help connect older adults to a range of program and services including guardianship, house to home, meals on wheels, Medicaid waivers, hometown heroes, senior employment, the list goes on. As the older adult population is anticipated to boom in coming years, the support and services provided to communities by AAAs grows even more critically important.

The session was moderated by MACo Board Member and Baltimore City Council Member Sharon Green Middleton and held on Wednesday, January 3, 2019.

The MACo Winter Conference was held January 2-4, 2019 at the Hyatt in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s theme was, “Charting the Course.”

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