Close this search box.


Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to: Disability FAQ | Programs FAQ | General HC FAQ | Ask A Question

Disability FAQ

What are the biggest challenges currently facing the disability community?

People with disabilities, as a whole, are more likely to experience poverty than people who don’t have disabilities, mostly due to a lack of access and opportunity. People with disabilities also face barriers to autonomy (unemployment, a lack of affordable and accessible housing, limiting societal attitudes), barriers to community (lack of public education and acceptance and lack of accessible public spaces, including some government buildings and polling places), and barriers related to their specific disability and comorbid health challenges. They are also more likely to experience abuse, discrimination, and other traumatic events. 

How many people have developmental disabilities? How many people have disabilities in general?

According to the CDC, 1 in 6 children has a developmental disability. As developmental disabilities do not go away, we can extrapolate that number to 1 in 6 adults as well. The CDC states that up to 1 in 4 people have some sort of disability. Locally, according to the US Census, over 18,000 people in Harford County have at least one disability. Over 5,600 children in Harford County Public Schools receive disability services, with 142 currently enrolled in Harford Academy.

What are the most common developmental disabilities?

According to the May Institute, the most common developmental disabilities are Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

What causes developmental disabilities?

The cause of most developmental disabilities is unknown. Some known causes and potential risk factors include: chromosomal and other genetic conditions, birth injuries, severe infections (maternal during pregnancy or child’s own during infancy), parental exposure to lead and other toxins, and parental behavior during pregnancy (smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use). Read more about risk factors on the CDC website here.

What are DDA Services? What do I need to know?

Please click here to visit the DDA’s website and learn more about their services.

How do people qualify for DDA services?

Please click here to learn more about DDA eligibility and the application process.

For more information about specific disabilities, please see our education and advocacy page.

Programs FAQ

What are your program hours?

We operate on a Monday-Friday 8-5 schedule. See our operational calendar for holiday closings, and click here to read our inclement weather policy. 

Do you provide transportation?

We do! We provide transportation to and from the center, and into the community every day. 

What are your admission requirements?

In general, the people we serve must be at least 21 years of age and be diagnosed with a developmental disability. You must qualify for services through Maryland’s Developmental Disability Administration, and you must meet the income requirements for Medical Assistance. Once those requirements are met, please see our admissions checklist for information about documentation you will need to provide. Please reach out to Melissa Cooper if you have any questions about this process. 

Do you accept people using DDA Self-Directed Service?

We accept self-directed services on a case by case basis. Please reach out to Melissa Cooper to discuss your options.

Do you accept people who self pay?

We accept people who self pay on a case by case basis. Please reach out to Tim Battaglia for more information. 

What does it mean that you serve all abilities?

We support people with any level of support they require. No matter what your situation is, our goal is to help you have the life you choose. We support you to work and play in the community as you wish, and meet whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. If you want to spend more time in the community but you need help with all your ADLs, we have you covered. If you’re looking for work and you need help navigating the interview process, we’re here for you. We work with you to figure out what you want and need and we plan your programming around that. 

What kinds of activities do people do at The Harford Center?

Activities at The Harford Center are as varied as the people we support. Activities are chosen based on the interests and goals of each person. Mostly we are in the community working, volunteering, and having a good time. We visit parks, go fishing, play baseball, and go bowling. We shop and learn how to shop and handle money. The more adventurous people we support have gone flying, sailing, and indoor skydiving. Others are happy to play bingo, paint, play music, go to the movies, and hang out with their friends. 

How are your DSPs trained?

Direct Support Professionals must hold current certifications for CPR and First Aid. They also participate in a wide variety of DDA-mandated trainings as part of onboarding and annually, including: abuse prevention, preventing the spread of contagious diseases, general issues of disabilities, disabilities in the elderly, a variety of specific disabilities, and MANDT training to manage behavioral crises. Each person is also trained specifically on the plan, goals, and challenges of the people they are working with. In addition, many of our DSPs are Certified Medication Technicians. 

How do you ensure an environment free of abuse?

We have a zero tolerance policy on abuse, and we provide abuse prevention trainings annually and as part of onboarding. We have a standing committee that investigates incident reports. We are overseen by OHCQ (the Office of Health Care Quality), which investigates complaints and incidents and conducts regular inspections.

Can you serve people who need to take medications during the day, who need assistance with ADLs, or who have feeding tubes or other intensive medical needs?

Yes, we have CMTs on staff and we operate under a delegating nurse who is always on call. For more information about our ability to meet your medical needs, please reach out to Jane Hyer

What is Person-Centered Planning?

We work with every person we support to assess their skills, needs, and goals. We plan our programming for each person based on those assessments. For more information about the person-centered planning process, please visit the DDA’s page on the topic. 

General HC FAQ

What does it mean that you are a quasi-public agency?

Quasi-public agencies are not managed by the government, but they receive government support because of the importance of their mission to the public. The Harford Center receives financial support from Maryland’s Developmental Disability Administration and Harford County. We are subject to oversight by the Office of Healthcare Quality, which is under the umbrella of the Health Department. Our Board of Directors is partially appointed by Harford County’s County Executive, and includes members from Harford County’s County Council, Harford County Public Schools, the Board of Education, the County Executive’s Office, Harford County Social Services, and various members of the business community, as well as client and family representatives. 

How is the Harford Center funded?

Our largest source of funding is the DDA, which pays us for services as providers. Between what the DDA pays and what is needed to provide quality services, there is an $800,000 + funding gap each year. Which we make up with an appropriation from the County, grants, personal donations, and fundraising. 

What are your largest expenses?

Salaries are our largest expense, followed by fuel and maintenance for our fleet of vehicles. 

Why are DSP salaries such a big part of your expenses?

DSPs are highly skilled and thoroughly trained. DSP jobs are not minimum wage jobs. Their jobs cannot be done by volunteers as they must undergo thorough background checks before legally being able to support the people we serve. The DDA determines safe client-to-staff ratios for each person who receives services, which determines how many people we require on staff to support the people we serve. DSP salaries are program expenses. Without DSPs, there are no programs. 

How can I control what my donation is used for?

You may specify what a donation is used for in the notes section of the online donation form. You may also send a letter with any checks or money orders to: 

The Harford Center
ATTN: Tim Battaglia
4 N. Earlton Rd.
Havre de Grace, MD 21078

For more information on how you can restrict the use of donated funds, please reach out to Tim by email or by calling 410-939-1420.