The Family Institute

The Family Institute A parent education program

The Howard County Family Institute is a parent education program of the Office of Children and Families, Department of Community Resources and Services. We offer informational sessions and training workshops for parents on many topics, including child development, positive discipline, finding resources, and adolescent issues. Click here to view some of the workshops we have offered. To suggest topics for future workshops or to learn more, please email or call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay).

Strengthening Families Parent Café

Please join Howard County Office of Children and Families to learn the five protective factors for families and how you can keep yourself, your children and your family strong! Meet New people and make new friends in an inviting atmosphere while sharing and learning new ideas.  

Thursday, September 19, 5:30 pm- 8:00 pm 

Dinner will be served 5:30 pm- 6:00 pm Cafe Conversation 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Child Care available for children ages one and over. 

Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services Campus

9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046

FREE! Please Click Here to Register by September 16, 2019

Questions, email or call 410-313-5992

Family First Series

Join the Howard County Family Institute for a special series designed for parents and guardians raising children from birth to age eight. Learn about child development, how to encourage self-esteem and good behavior, positive guidance and discipline, and how to keep children safe and healthy. Each class, offered in an interactive group format, will include practical tips and advice for handling common situations, as well as hands-on activities.  Participants who complete all five classes can receive a Certificate of Completion (not CEU) upon request.  Click Here to Register for the Entire Series

Be a Brain Builder: Know as They Grow (Wednesday, September 18 • 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.)
Scientists have made discoveries about how a child's earliest experiences affect the way the brain is organized. By knowing what to expect as a child passes through typical stages, you are better able to respond to new behaviors and expand their learning experiences to build a strong foundation. Explore the ages and stages of child development in several areas such as cognitive, social-emotional, motor and language. Learn about the latest brain research, why early experiences matter and how your interaction with your child during their early years can have an impact on their learning abilities in the future.  Click Here to Register

Keeping Kids Healthy and Happy (Wednesday, September 25 7:00 -8:30 p.m.)

Learn how to choose healthy snacks, meals and beverages for children. Discuss common eating concerns such as picky eaters or refusal to eat. Explore nutrition labels and healthy eating on a budget. Learn more about the importance of exercise and how you can keep children active in a variety of fun and easy ways.  Click Here to Register

Keeping Kids Safe (Tuesday, October 17:00 -8:30 p.m.)  

Discuss safety-proofing your home for different ages; who to contact in an emergency, car seat safety, and tips on how to protect your child from abuse. Learn ways to cope with your own stress and how to teach children relaxation techniques and stress relief.  Click Here to Register

Discipline and Communication Part 1 & 2 (double session) 

Part 1 (Monday, October 21 • 7:00 -9:00 p.m.)
Set the stage for better behavior. Become familiar with temperament types and learn how to use this information to individualize your interactions with your child. Learn how to proactively prevent misbehavior by preparing your home and routine to encourage success. Discuss ways to effectively communicate with your child and the importance of structure, consistency and self-esteem to help build a growth mind set.  

Part 2 (Monday, November 4 • 7:00 -8:30 p.m.)

Learn how to teach children self-control and problem-solving techniques that they can use in the moment of behavior problems. Establish rules and logical consequences for misbehavior that are developmentally appropriate. Discuss behavior charts and a variety of other options to encourage behaviors that you want to see. Leave with practical strategies and tools to implement immediately! 

Behavior Basics & Managing Meltdowns 

October 5 & 12 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ($20)
Do tantrums, power struggles and misbehavior make daily life difficult in your household? Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (SEFEL), is a comprehensive, research based approach that considers all of the factors that impact a child, family and a child's behavior.  Learn how to set the stage to decrease negative behaviors from happening in the first place and what to do when they do occur.  Leave this two part workshop with skills and resources that you can use immediately that will help you feel more confident in your parenting.  Click Here to Register

Powerful Tools for Caregivers

October 1 through November 5 (six consecutive Tuesdays)  1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. $30 fee covers all materials
Cedar Lane School, 11630 Scaggsville Road, Fulton 20759

A program especially for parents of children with special needs!  If your child has special health and/or behavioral needs, don’t miss this dynamic evidence-based program! Our goal is to improve the lives of parents — and, ultimately their children — through outreach, conversation, training, and resources.   This series explores a variety of self-care tools in a supportive environment designed to help parents:

  • reduce personal stress
  • manage your emotions
  • change negative self-talk
  • make tough care giving decisions
  • communicate more effectively in challenging situations 

For more information or to register, contact
Kathy Wehr, Caregiver Support Program Manager
410-313-5955 (voice/relay)

 To request a sign language interpreter or other accommodation to attend a workshop, call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay) at least one week in advance.




Parent Pages Newsletter

Parent Pages is a family newsletter published by the Howard County Office of Children and Families. Each quarterly issue features news and tips from many of the programs in our office, including the Local Children's Board, Parents as Teachers, the CARE Center, Healthy Kids, and more. Parent Pages is a part of the Howard County Family Institute, an education and community outreach program. View the current issue, if you need this publication in an alternate format, please call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay). Would you like to be notified of upcoming Family Institute workshops? Sign-Up to receive Parent Pages e-newsletter and updates.


The Office of Children and Families is a division of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. We post updates on training classes, information on upcoming events, and reminders about parent workshops on the Community Resources and Services Facebook page. You'll also find posts from other divisions of Community Resources and Services; The Office on Aging and Independence, Disabilities Services, and Consumer Protection. We hope you'll "like" us!