Background & History
Maryland Family Network (MFN) is an advocate and catalyst for the development of a strong system of quality child care, early education, and family support.
Maryland Family Network (MFN) is a private, non-profit organization that has a rich history of action in matters affecting children, families, and the child care community of this state. MFN was created in 2009 from the merger of two leading non-profit organizations: Maryland Committee for Children and Friends of the Family.
Maryland Committee for Children was founded in 1945 as a private, non-profit organization to serve as an advocate and catalyst for the development of a strong system of quality child care, early education, and family support on a local, state, and national level. Originally known as the Maryland Committee for the Group Day Care of Children, it served to present an organized voice in support of continued federal funding for child care programs and to promote better child care services throughout Maryland.
Between l946 and l964, the primary focus of the organization was to: provide training for teachers in child care programs; help raise money for the operation of child care centers; conduct research; and spearhead the fight for child care regulation. In l965, the organization combined its former board and professional advisory committee with members of the public at large, thereby broadening its base and more effectively reaching the general public to interpret the need for quality child care services. In the early l970s, the Board of Directors expanded the organization’s ability to offer support services to parents and people who work with young children. Accordingly, the organization focused its direct services on the child care community. In 1989, Maryland Committee for Children began operation of the Maryland Child Care Resource Network, a public/private project created to strengthen the child care delivery system in Maryland.
Maryland’s family support initiative was established in 1985 in response to the State’s escalating infant mortality and teen pregnancy rates and increasing child abuse reports and foster care placements. The Maryland State Department of Human Resources, the Morris Goldseker Foundation, and the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation formed a public/private partnership and allocated funding to establish Maryland’s first four community based drop-in Family Support Centers. Friends of the Family was established in 1986 as an intermediary to ensure the optimal growth and development of the family support movement in Maryland. From its earliest days, Friends of the Family promoted, developed, and sustained preventive services and programs that strengthened and supported families with children from birth through age three.
Today, Maryland Family Network is the state’s foremost provider of services to the early childhood care community, and creator and sustainer of parent-child programs for families raising infants and toddlers. To carry out its mission, Maryland Family Network:
- Provides funding, training, technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation to Maryland’s Family Support Centers and Child Care Resource and Referral Centers.
- Sponsors a variety of training programs for professionals and paraprofessionals on various aspects of infant and toddler development and parent education.
- Implements demonstration programs such as Community Hubs.
- Collaborates and consults with other organizations throughout the city, state, and nation to promote the development of programs, services and materials that support the healthy development of families.
- Advocates policies, programs and methods of service delivery that are compatible with the goals and philosophy of family support.
- Helps parents find and evaluate child care, provides training for child care professionals and parents, and offers technical assistance to child care program operators.
- Works with employers to develop supportive work/family programs, and collects and disseminates child care information for trend analysis and planning.
- Works on the local, state, and national levels to improve the quality of early educational opportunities, to increase the availability of child care throughout Maryland, and to speak out on matters of public policy affecting children.