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County Executive Leopold Opens Harmony House

Annapolis, MD (June 8, 2007) – Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold is announcing the first of its kind facility in Maryland that offers parents whose children have been placed in foster care a supervised meeting place in a home-like environment.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services identified the need to enhance the quality and frequency of visits between parents and children who were in the care and custody of the Department of Social Services. Harmony House was created to allow immediate, frequent and supervised visitation in a home-like setting.  Harmony House is a major component of Anne Arundel County’s efforts to preserve family connections and to resolve the issues that created the need for foster care.  

“Every year children in the County are abused or neglected,” said County Executive Leopold. “Because of this, many are separated from their parents and place in foster care. Before parents can be permanently reunited with their children, they must resolve the issues that created the need for placement, and Harmony House can help in the process.”

Children who are removed from their own homes often fear that they will never see their parent(s) again.   Returning to the agency to visit with their parents can often add to that fear. Harmony House is a “home” where parents and children can engage in activities that would take place in any home.  Cooking, eating together, gardening, etc, are some of those activities that are available.  Harmony House can provide a place for parents to practice new parenting skills in a natural environment and for families to maintain their relationships.  

“Harmony House is not just another place to visit.  It represents the Department’s commitment to engaging the community in preserving families,” said Brenda Donald, Secretary of the Department of Human Resources.

“Harmony House is evidence of a tremendous public-private effort to help the County’s most vulnerable children and families,” said County Executive Leopold. “Over 16 community groups are participating in this initiative. From hands-on-community involvement and community donations to painting the walls, Harmony House represents a unique partnership and unique idea in preserving families.”

The County Executive will officially open Harmony House on June 12, 2007 at 9:00 a.m.
The facility is funded through community donations.


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