Notes From DCRS Director Jacqueline R. Scott
Addressing the Need for Affordable, Accessible Childcare - August 14, 2020

The average cost of childcare for two children in Howard County is about $2,000 per month. Higher than average childcare costs in the area make it even harder for families working in low-paying jobs to get ahead in a region with one of the highest costs of living in Maryland.

Join us on Wednesday, August 19 from 8 to 9 a.m. as the United Way of Central Maryland presents "The Realities of Inequity: The Need for Affordable, Accessible Childcare," the second in a series of dynamic, online panel discussions examining the barriers that prevent hardworking people in our region from achieving financial stability—or even just making ends meet.

I will join other distinguished panelists in a conversation on the critical need for childcare that families can afford, its benefits to employers, and United Way's innovative solution to help working parents who are struggling to pay for childcare.

Click Here to Register Today

 


A Call for Compassion - June 2, 2020

Each of us here in Howard County is searching for answers and relief from the pain of the last week's events in Minneapolis. We watched the murder of George Floyd happen in real-time, and horrifically, this is not the first time we've had to deal with images like this. I know that the scenes and the emotions they create have a particular burden on us here, as so much of the value we find in growing, living, and thriving in our county is centered around concepts of diversity, respect, and compassion for all of our neighbors and residents. 

It is not easy to look at our friends, our relatives, our children and be at a loss for answers, and sometimes words themselves. We're looking for something to do that can help others alleviate pain or shame associated with the things that we're seeing and hearing, and for our black and brown neighbors, profound sadness and anger at these images being all too familiar, all too often. The depths and of the pain and the trauma are real.

This moment underscores the need for our nation and our county to have honest conversations about race, policy, and systemic change. Conversations centered around valuing and uplifting basic human dignity. Conversations that can lead us as a community to actionable, strategic, and lasting improvement.  

If you feel like these things have failed us, or worse are working against us, those feelings are legitimate, but they should not give way to hopelessness or despair. Instead, allow them to motivate you to use your voices in thoughtful, intentional, and meaningful ways. In recent years, the Howard County Government led by County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball has looked to lead in those complex conversations, and we've made significant strides locally in demonstrating how community bonds can be strengthened by an individual commitment to treating others as we all want to be treated. Yet I recognize that we have miles to go before we sleep. There is much work yet to be done.

We are not perfect, here at home or throughout this nation. The anger and the harrowing actions we see in cities around the country are sending one unified message -- "Please listen to us. We hurt. We are tired. We are Americans, too." I believe Howard County can be a beacon of light leading the way in listening, learning, and shaping communities with values and empathy. 

This particular moment is especially difficult as we continue to adapt to a reality shaped by the COVID-19 virus and its devastating, disproportionate impact on black and brown communities. We are attempting to stand together in unity while the greater good requires us to remain physically apart. But proximity to one another does not have to define our presence; our ability to reach out and to make others feel our love and compassion. We need each other. Our strength, our diversity, our resilience is what makes our county uniquely qualified to show Maryland and the rest of the nation what we do so well.  This is no time to shrink back. 

Stand together as a community. Check-in with each other. Do not worry about having the right words -- sometimes saying "I just want you to know that I am here for you" is the perfect remedy for any given moment of pain and sorrow. Believe in each other. Trust each other. Do for one another. Hope is not lost; it is here in Howard County and within you to deliver to everyone you know and love. 

Please know that DCRS is here, standing with you, holding hope and ready to lend assistance at this moment, and every moment when the call for care and compassion is greatest. And know that together we will run again – but until then, just put one foot in front of the other.