Tag Archives: Talbot County Department of Social Services

Talbot County Department of Social Services Provides 400 Back to School Packs to Area Children

Talbot-DSS-Book-Bag-Giveaway-0814Talbot County Department of Social Services Provides 400 Back to School Packs to Area Children 

The Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) gave out 400 cinch sacks filled with school supplies to area school-aged children.  A number of community partners participated in this annual event, including the Talbot County Free Library, YMCA of Talbot, Early Head Start/Talbot County Health Department, Chesapeake Helps/Chesapeake College, The Talbot County Multicultural Resource Center, P.E.A.C.E., Parent Education Programs for TCDSS, 4-H and University of Maryland Extension Office-Talbot County, Rural Cares, and Priority Partners MCO/Johns Hopkins Health Care. Many staff members from the department joined in the effort, including stuffing sacks with supplies, organizing the event, and sharing information about the department’s programs and services with families who participated in the event.

Photo: Pictured left to right are Talbot County Department of Social Services staff members Pam Wilkinson, Joanne Linthicum, Jennifer Carpenter, and Susan Merriken, who recently gave out 400 cinch sacks filled with school supplies to area school-aged children.

 

Talbot County Department of Social Services Selects 2014 Foster Parent of the Year

2014-Foster-Parent-of-Year---Talbot-Wanda-Ball-GrossTalbot County Department of Social Services Selects 2014 Foster Parent of the Year 

Wanda Ball-Gross of Trappe has been selected as the 2014 Foster Parent of the Year by the Talbot County Department of Social Services.  Wanda has been a foster parent in Talbot County for over two years, fostering children ranging from infants to a child age 20, as well as sibling groups.  In addition to providing foster care, Wanda has also provided regular respite care for some of agency’s foster children. She was recently recognized during a ceremony for Foster Parent Appreciation Month.  This year the department recognized foster parents who work closely with birth parents.

According to Paris Quillet, Special Projects Coordinator, Talbot County Department of Social Services, “Wanda always makes herself available as a foster parent, as well as maintains regular communication with the department and the birth parents of children in foster and respite care. She also supports other foster parents. She provides our children with love and affection and always goes above and beyond to make them feel special and a part of her family.”

Wanda, who has four biological children ages six through 20, became interested in being a foster parent after working at the Easton Family YMCA. In addition, she had a group home near her as a child and many of its children were her friends.  She comments, “I love a big family. I thought I would like to do something like it in my own home.”

The Talbot County Department of Social Services is holding an Information Session on August 13, 2014, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at their office at 301 Bay Street in Easton.  For further information, call 410-820-7371.

Photo: Pictured is Talbot County 2014 Foster Parent of the Year, Wanda Ball-Gross of Trappe, being recognized at the 2014 Multicultural Festival in Easton, MD. Pictured left to right are Senator Richard Colburn; Wanda Ball-Gross of Trappe; Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Acting Director, Dorchester County Department of Social Services; and Cathy Dougherty, Director, Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services.

 

Lend a Hand: Talbot Department of Social Services Recognizes Adoptive Parents

Talbot County Department of Social Services (DSS) is honoring one of the families who adopted children this year. Christina and Greg Taney of Easton recently adopted two children into their home – Cassidy (age 6) and Keairra (age 12). Christina comments, “It was important to keep the two girls together and we are thrilled we could adopt both of them.”

The Taneys, who have an 11-year old biological child, say that the blended family is working out quite well and that the children have adjusted well to one another. Although Christina and Greg have recently adopted the two children, they continue to foster other children and haven’t ruled out adopting again in the future. Christina adds, “There are opportunities for adopting children right in this community and I hope families will open their hearts to children who may be in need of permanent homes.”

Christine Abbatiello, Foster Care and Adoption Supervisor for Talbot County DSS, states, “The Taneys have been instrumental in providing a forever home for the girls and in giving them stability in their lives.”

Christina adds, “The staff at Talbot DSS has been an amazing team throughout this process, both advocating for the girls and supporting my husband and myself.”

As an adoptive family, the Taneys are continuing a relationship with the girls’ birth family, feeling that it is important to both the birth mother and the girls, to maintain regular contact.

The Talbot County Department of Social Services is holding Information Session on Tuesday, January 14, 2013 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at their office at 301 Bay Street in Easton. The next Parent Resource for Information Development and Education (PRIDE) training for foster and adoptive parents will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning January 8, 2014. For further information, call 410-820-7371.

Talbot Department of Social Services Recognizes Adoptive Parents

Talbot DSS - Taney Adoption 1013 (400 x 342)November is National Adoption Month and the Talbot County Department of Social Services (DSS) is honoring one of the families who adopted children this year. Christina and Greg Taney of Easton recently adopted two children into their home – Cassidy (age 6) and Keairra (age 12). Christina comments, “It was important to keep the two girls together and we are thrilled we could adopt both of them.”

The Taneys, who have an 11-year old biological child, say that the blended family is working out quite well and that the children have adjusted well to one another. Although Christina and Greg have recently adopted the two children, they continue to foster other children and haven’t ruled out adopting again in the future. Christina adds, “There are opportunities for adopting children right in this community and I hope families will open their hearts to children who may be in need of permanent homes.”

Christine Abbatiello, Foster Care and Adoption Supervisor for Talbot County DSS, states, “The Taneys have been instrumental in providing a forever home for the girls and in giving them stability in their lives.”

Christina adds, “The staff at Talbot DSS has been an amazing team throughout this process, both advocating for the girls and supporting my husband and myself.”

As an adoptive family, the Taneys are continuing a relationship with the girls’ birth family, feeling that it is important to both the birth mother and the girls, to maintain regular contact.

The Talbot County Department of Social Services is holding Information Sessions on Tuesday, December 10 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, January 14, 2013 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at their office at 301 Bay Street in Easton. The next Parent Resource for Information Development and Education (PRIDE) training for foster and adoptive parents will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning January 8, 2014. For further information, call 410-820-7371.

In photo: Pictured back row, left to right, are Greg Taney, Judge Bo Earnest, Keairra Taney, and Christina Taney. Pictured front row is Cassidy Taney at the girl’s recent adoption.

Mid Shore Foster Parents Celebrate Foster Parent Appreciation Month

Foster parents from the Mid Shore recently gathered to celebrate Foster Parent Appreciation Month at the Kent Island Yacht Club in Chester, MD.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn photo (top): Pictured front row, left to right are Talbot County foster parents and Talbot County Department of Social Services staff Courtney Marvel, Option Respite Coordinator, Talbot County Department of Social Services; Berkely Dickerson, Kalinda Dickerson, Paulett Frieson, Sandra Caldwell, April Sharp, director of Talbot County Department of Social Services; and Christine M. Abbatiello, Foster Care/Adoptions Supervisor, Talbot County Department of Social Services. Pictured back row, left to right: Thomas Frieson, Kathy Jenkins, Norwood Caldwell, and Paris Quillet, Special Projects Coordinator, Talbot County Department of Social Services.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn photo (in middle): Pictured back row, left to right, are Caroline County foster parents John Borga, Nancy Borga, Dawn Cordrey, Rodney Cordrey, Valerie Gross, Ed Gross. Front row, left to right, Patrick Hubbard, Rachel Hubbard, Elizabeth Nichols, and Nancy Downes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn photo (below): Pictured back row, left to right, are Caroline County foster parents Elizabeth Lake, James Lake, Sandra Washington, James Patrick. Middle row, left to right, are foster parents Thomas Copper, Aleta Copper, Linda Hopkins, and Penny Patrick. Front row, left to right, are Loretta Morris, Bonnie Shuler, and Shirley Acree.

 

 

 

Wilsons Named as 2013 Talbot County Foster Parents of the Year

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATyron and Emprin Wilson of Trappe were recently selected as the 2013 Foster Parents of the Year by the Talbot County Department of Social Services. The Wilsons have been licensed foster parents in Talbot County since March 31, 2011. According to Christine M. Abbatiello, Foster Care/Adoptions Supervisor at Talbot County Department of Social Services, “The Wilsons have been a loving, caring, nurturing entity in their foster child’s life and supportive of the foster child’s biological mother during the placement in their home.”

Emprin Wilson was in foster care as a child herself and adopted at age four by her foster parents. She comments, “My foster parents always told me I was special because they picked me.”

While she has two children and three grandchildren of her own, she adds, “I love children and want to give back to the community. My foster mother showed me unconditional love and I want to do the same for other children.”

For further information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-820-7371.

In photo: Pictured left to right are Emprin and Tyron Wilson of Trappe, who were recently selected as the 2013 Talbot County Department of Social Services Foster Parents of the Year.

Fatherhood Re-Entry Support Group Gains Recognition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Talbot County Department of Social Services (DSS) Young Fathers/Non-Custodial Parents Employment Program launched the Inside Out Dad curriculum through its outreach with the Talbot County Department of Corrections. Initiated in 2010, this program teaches employment readiness, financial management, and personal effectiveness.

According to Tom Wardrop, Outreach Facilitator and Mentor, Talbot County Department of Social Services, “Based on about 15,000 inmates released from the Maryland Department of Corrections per year, one half of these individuals are back in prison within three years and 20 percent are reincarcerated within three months.” He adds, “If inmates start taking advantage of the programs available to them in prison to change their behavior, their chances increase dramatically for a successful re-entry into society.”

Over the last two years, 45 fathers have participated in the program, which included 11 modules with 12 classes in each module. As a result of the program, several fathers requested that a Re-Entry Support Group be formed to provide them with support re-entering the community. The group called IF (Inspire Fatherhood), launched with four core members, was honored for their commitment during an awards ceremony at the Department of Social Services.

Doug Devenyns, Director of the Talbot County Department of Corrections, echoes Wardrop’s comments, adding, “We want to create opportunities for men and women not to look at jail as a low spot, but rather as a starting place for the ‘correcting’ to happen.”

Talbot County’s unique Re-Entry Support Group is an extension of the Inside Out Dad Program and was created after fathers leaving prison requested additional support in their journeys back to their families and the community. Membership in the Re-Entry Support Group requires that the dads participate in the Inside Out Dad Program while incarcerated, attend two consecutive meetings of the Support Group, remain drug and alcohol free, be employed or enrolled in school full time, have no subsequent criminal charges, and attempt to engage in the lives of their children. In addition to its regular meetings, the Support Group has held family-centered events.

Wardrop states, “This group supports the personal growth of its members and their children and will ultimately promote the growth and development of other fathers released from prison. Although society often focuses on the cost of incarceration, which is estimated at about $40,000 a year per inmate, the real cost is the fatherless family which ends up at the poverty level afterwards.”

Deborah Short, Talbot County Department of Social Services Advisory Board Member and director of Building African American Minds (BAAM), commended the men on their accomplishments, stating, “You are dads making a difference. If ever you think you aren’t, take a look in the rearview mirror at your kids!”

Emily Joiner, Program Coordinator of the Young Fathers/Non-Custodial Parents Employment Program, presented the certificates of recognition and pins to the four core Support Group members, Vincent Bratcher, Dewayne Camper, James Carter, III, and Quartez Roberts for each of their milestones with the Support Group.

Vincent Bratcher summed up the group’s experience with IF group in his remarks by saying, “I wasn’t taking responsibility for my family and I was neglecting my obligations. The Fatherhood Program provided me with the tools I needed and gave me a new start. I am finally proud of myself.”

For further information about the Talbot County Child Support Program or Young Father’s/Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program, contact Dawn Coleman, Child Support Supervisor, Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-770-4848.

In photo: Pictured back row, left to right, are Tom Wardrop, Outreach Facilitator and Mentor, Talbot County Department of Social Services (DSS); Dawn Coleman, Child Support Supervisor for the Talbot County DSS; Captain Leon Tillman, Programs Director, Talbot County Department of Corrections; Emily Joiner, Program Coordinator of the Young Fathers/Non-Custodial Parents Employment Program, Talbot County Department of Social Services; and Doug Devenyns, Director of the Talbot County Department of Corrections. Pictured front row, left to right, are Inspire Fatherhood Re-Entry Support Group members recognized for their accomplishments: James Carter, III, Dewayne Camper, Vincent Bratcher, and Quartez Roberts. Absent from the photo is keynote speaker, Ronald Nix, Outreach Coordinator for Maryland’s Child Support Enforcement Administration.

Mid-Shore Foster Families Celebrate at Annual Holiday Party

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFoster families from Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties recently celebrated at their annual Holiday Party at the Easton Volunteer Fire Department in Easton, MD. Over 150 foster and adoptive parents and their children attended this year’s event. Activities included a holiday store, arts and crafts, a holiday meal prepared by the Chesapeake Culinary Center in Denton, a DJ, and a visit from Santa. The members, dinner committee, and youth group of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Easton purchased the gifts for the foster children.

For further information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Talbot County, contact Megan Palanci at the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-820-7371. An information session will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, January 23, 2013, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dorchester County Department of Social Services at 627 Race Street in Cambridge, MD.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn photo, middle: Pictured back row, left to right, are Keondra Polk, Kalinda Dickerson, Dr. Berkley Dickerson, and Keirra Dickerson. Pictured front row is Israel Dickerson. The Dickerson family of Easton enjoyed the Holiday Party’s meal.

In photo, bottom: Pictured left to right are William McDonnell, Director of Dorchester County Department of Social Services, April Sharp, Director of Talbot County Department of Social Services; Dina Daly, Director of Caroline County Department of Social Services, and Judge Karen Jensen, Caroline County Circuit Court.

In photo, top: Pictured front row, left to right, are Matthew, Noah, and Marcella Cordrey of Greensboro. Pictured back row, left to right, are parents Dawn and Rodney Cordrey. Noah Cordrey was celebrating his recent adoption.

Drummond Named 2012 Responsible Father of the Year

Oscar Drummond of Easton could not have imagined a year ago being awarded the 2012 Responsible Father of the Year Award by the Talbot County Department of Social Services. Drummond, who was unemployed for eight months, had fallen behind in his child support for an older child in Somerset County. He soon found himself in court for non-payment of that child support. As if that was not enough bad luck, Drummond became separated from his wife and children and his wife became very ill.

He recalls, “I was really stuck in a funk with my life. At one point after I separated from my wife, I was homeless and I went to Social Services to ask for food stamps to help me.”

That is when a miracle happened in Drummond’s life. Through the Department’s Child Support Program, Drummond met Emily Joiner, Talbot County’s Young Father’s/Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program (NPEP) Coordinator. Joiner helped Drummond enroll in NPEP, which provides one-on-one case management to help parents to become gainfully employed in order to be financially independent, support their children, and become good role models for the future generation.

Within one month of enrolling in the NPEP program, Drummond got a job locally. But, just as he began the slow climb back to regaining his life with his family, his wife became ill, having three surgeries in a year’s time and experiencing the deaths of her mother, her grandmother, and her aunt.

He comments, “If I had not had Emily Joiner in my corner, I don’t know if I could have stayed so determined to keep fighting. Her encouraging and supportive presence was an inspiration in my life. I am a determined person, but she made me more determined to see this through.”

Drummond got his child support arrearages paid in full and with the assistance of the Talbot County Department of Social Services, paid the first month’s rent on an apartment to reunite his family. His wife began her recovery process with Drummond at her side. Lashawnnia Drummond comments, “Oscar has grown tremendously through this process. He restored our marriage and our family. He has a determination in him that I have never seen before. I am very proud of him for this award.”

Drummond, who was promoted in his job this year, recently got an even better paying job to help support his family. He adds, reflecting on this past year’s journey, “My family is everything to me.”

For further information about the Talbot County Child Support Program or Young Father’s/Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program, contact Dawn Coleman, Child Support Supervisor, Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-770-4848.

In photo: Pictured holding his plaque for the 2012 Responsible Father of the Year is Oscar Drummond of Easton. Seated left to right are Oscar’s daughter, Jashawnnia Drummond, his wife Lashawnnia Drummond, and his son Sir Jashaun Drummond.

Tresentes Named 2012 Talbot County Foster Parents of the Year

Tragedy has turned to joy for foster parents, Guy Tresente and Martha Reyes-Tresente of Easton, who were named as the 2012 Talbot County Foster Parents of the Year by the Talbot County Department of Social Services. The Tresentes, who lost their only child, Grace Edyta, at 11 days old and could not have any more children, became licensed as foster parents in 2010. Guy Tresente, who was exposed to foster care through a high school friend, comments, “We view it as a ministry. I see children as the future.”

Over the last two years, the Tresentes have provided foster care and respite to 10 children. According to Christine Abbatiello, LGSW, foster care worker for Talbot County Department of Social Services, “They have been instrumental in working with three different sibling groups to keep the siblings together, even when it might mean driving long distances to keep the children in their schools.” She adds, “In addition, Guy and Martha have gone above and beyond to connect with the biological families of their foster children. They have also worked with some of the sibling groups to incorporate as much of their family of origin culture into their foster home.”

Since both Guy and his wife, Martha, speak Spanish fluently, they have also helped the Talbot County Department of Social Services recruit Spanish-speaking foster parents. Martha, who came to America from El Salvador in 1993 and to Easton in 2004, is the youngest of eight children. She and her husband are active in Emanuel Bible Believing Church in Easton. Martha, who went to seminary in Guatemala, also preaches at a church in Guatemala. She comments, “What is satisfying about doing foster care is giving children the affection and love when they come from a place where they may not have it.”

For further information about becoming a foster parent in Talbot County, call 410-820-7371. The next Parents Resource for Information Development and Education (PRIDE) Training begins on June 6, 2012.

In photo: Pictured left to right are Martha Reyes-Tresente and Guy Tresente, Talbot County’s 2012 Foster Parents of the Year.