Catholic Charities Serves Children and Families

Catholic Charities programs for children and families focus on building and unifying families, helping children and families achieve healthy social and emotional relationships, and securing special education and behavioral health services that provide the means to achieve self-reliance. The current recession has had a profound effect on our children in Maryland. Our society relies on safety net programs to insulate children from harm, however, programs serving children and families have been overwhelmed by the increasing demand for services.


  • 11.6% of children live at or below the federal poverty level
  • There are at least 11,698 homeless people in Maryland, an estimated 5,380 of which are children under the age of six.
  • 13% under age three experience residential mobility
  • 50% of children living with their grandparents are under age six.
  • 38% of Maryland's homeless population are members of families and 36% of Maryland's homeless persons are unsheltered living on the streets or other places not intended for human habitation.
  • Close to 100,000 (98,521) Marylanders have “doubled up” with a family member or friend and are a step away from homelessness.
  • 6% of children live with parents who are unemployed.
  • The average family in Maryland spends $15,795 on child care costs each year. Over 300,000 children under the age of six, nearly 21% of Maryland’s children, are in some type of child care arrangement.
  • According to families with children and youth with disabilities, 72% have had difficulties finding, obtaining, or keeping child care. Of these, 64% have lost income due to the lack of child care options. Many families with children and youth with disabilities, 32% percent to be precise, have quit their jobs to stay home with their child, 82% need support for their child before and after school, but only 36% know of programs that would accept their child.

Child Welfare

  • From January to September 2012, there were 10,009 indicated findings of child abuse and neglect. Among these maltreated children, 24% are under age three.
  • There are 205 out-of-home placements each month and 6,578 of Maryland’s children are currently placed in a foster home, almost half (3,182) of which are in Baltimore City.

Special Education

  • 46, 868 or 11.4% of Maryland's elementary school children are enrolled in Special education. Among these students, 31% suffer from a specific learning disability.
  • In 2011, 59% of young children with disabilities entered kindergarten in Maryland fully ready to learn compared to 85% of their non-disabled peers.
  • 5.41% of Special Education students in Maryland high schools drop out before graduating.
  • Less than 10% of Maryland’s pre-school students with disabilities attend a regular early childhood program for at least 10 hours a week, while another 26% attend an extended program of at least 10 hours a week.
  • 67% of Maryland’s students with disabilities, ages 6-21, spend more than 80% of the time inside a regular education classroom. Meanwhile, 7% are placed in separate facilities, and do not spend any time in a regular classroom.


Nutrition Programs

  • One in eight Marylanders participates in SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps).
  • About 28% of households which receive SNAP have at least one person in the household 60 years or older and 16% of SNAP recipients are under age five.
  • 40% of Maryland’s enrolled students are eligible for free and reduced meals.
  • The Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) provide 144, 702 women, infants,  and children with assistance, 27% of whom are infants.

 Health Insurance

  • About 12% of Marylanders (771, 500) do not have health insurance, of which 138,300 are children. Among these children, 4.1% are under the age of six.
  • Over 30% of Maryland’s children ages 2-17 with emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions do not have adequate health insurance to meet their needs.

Behavioral Health

  • 18% of Maryland’s children ages 2-17 has one or more emotional, behavioral, or developmental condition including: autism, developmental delays, depression or anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or behavioral/conduct problems.
  • Only 59.4% of children with emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems actually received mental health care or counseling of some type in the past 12 months.
  • Maryland’s child population consists of 15.7% with special health care needs, 17.8% of whom live below the poverty level.

How Catholic Charities has helped this year

  • Villa Maria Schools provided education and treatment for about 270 children with mental health needs on three campuses.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start programs helped more than 697 young children and their families achieve meaningful educational, developmental, and family self-sufficiency outcomes.
  • Treatment Foster Care program placed 112 children with medical, emotional, behavioral, and/or psychiatric problems in stable environments with trained foster families.
  • Villa Maria Safe Start Child Abuse Prevention Program provided early screening intervention and referral for 43 children at risk for abuse and neglect.
  • Celebrating 30 years of service, Our Daily Bread served 270,551 meals every day of the year and breakfast to seniors and individuals with disabilities each weekday.
  • Esperanza Center Health Services Clinic proves free medical and dental services to immigrants in Baltimore City who do not qualify for health insurance and who cannot pay for health care.  Esperanza Center provided primary care to 676 adults and children.
  • St. Vincent’s Villa, a residential and diagnostic facility for children with significant emotional and behavioral difficulties, provided comprehensive therapeutic services to 264 children.  

Abuse Prevention
Adoption and Pregnancy Services
Mental Health
Programs for Children and Families
Shelters for Women, Children, and Families

Many of the programs list below are part of Catholic Charities Child and Family Services.


Abuse Prevention

St. Vincent’s Child Abuse Prevention Programs, Illuminations, provides child sexual abuse prevention, awareness and education services.

Adoption Services

The experienced adoption professionals at Catholic Charities provide extensive support & guidance through all phases of the adoption process.

Mental Health

We offer a variety of mental health services to children and families in nine counties.

Services for Children and Families

Family Provider Partnership

Family Training

Family Support Groups

Family Resources

Family Navigator Services is a free service for Baltimore County parents, guardians, or other family members of children with intensive needs related to mental health or developmental disabilities.

Center for Family Services provides treatment foster care services, pregnancy counseling, parenting and adoption planning services, and adoptive family services.

My Sister’s Place Women’s Center is a comprehensive resource center for homeless and impoverished women and children in Baltimore.

Project Fresh Start provides homeless families with housing, counseling, case management,  referrals to remedial education, life and job skills training, parenting workshops, financial literacy workshops, case management, and a host of community services. 

Family to Family Respite Program provides overnight relief for those caregivers in Baltimore, Harford, Cecil and Carroll Counties who face the challenge of raising a child or adolescent with emotional or behavioral difficulties.

Hope, a specialized treatment foster care program provides services to medically fragile infants and children.

TASC, a specialized treatment foster care program providing services to youth ages 12-21 and their families. TASC is an alternative to a juvenile services program.

The Treatment Foster Care Program serves children with medical, emotional, behavioral and/or psychiatric problems within specially trained foster families.

Head Start

Carroll County Head Start is a child and family development program that enables children from low-income families in Carroll County to be better prepared when entering kindergarten, thereby improving the likelihood of their success in school and in life.

Harford County Early Head Start is a child and family development program that provides a child development program and parenting classes to pregnant women, parents, and children under three years of age from low-income families in Harford County. 

St. Jerome’s Head Start, in Baltimore city, is a child and family development program that enables children from low-income families in southwest Baltimore to be better prepared when entering kindergarten, thereby improving the likelihood of their success in school and in life.

Residential Programs

St. Vincent’s Villa offers both a Residential Treatment Center and Diagnostic and Evaluation and Treatment Program for children with emotional and behavioral disturbance, ages 5 through 13 years.

Therapeutic Weekend Respite Program


Villa Maria Schools 

Shelters for Women, Children and Families

Anna’s House offers transitional and permanent housing for homeless women and their children in Harford County.

My Sister’s Place Women’s Center is a comprehensive resource center for homeless and impoverished women and children in Baltimore.

Sarah’s House is a supportive housing program for homeless families in Anne Arundel County.