Family Services Program

Circuit Court for Frederick County
General Information: 301-600-1976

Family Services Information Contact

B. Lynn Macpherson, LCSW-C
Family Support Services Coordinator

Ph: 301-600-2023

Family Services Program
Self-Help Clinic
The Self-help Clinic is located on the Lower Level of the courthouse and is available to income eligible litigants on a first-come-first-serve basis. It is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The third Wednesday of every month the Clinic is open from 9-11 for Spanish speaking litigants.

Co-parenting Seminar
The co-parenting seminar is ordered by the court in all contested custody/access cases. The seminar is 6 hours in length and covers the impact of conflict on children and strategies for parents to communicate and make decision together on behalf of their children. Emphasis is placed on creating age appropriate parenting plans and preparation for mediation.

The classes are offered by 4 providers certified to teach this seminar. Fee reduced classes are available to income eligible parties for details call 301-600-2023.

Classes
Select 1 of the following 4 options:
  • 6-hour Online Parenting Program $75 (Also in Spanish)
    Enter your information and pay using PayPal or a credit card.
  • Brenda Lee, Family Partnership $75 Tuesday Evening 301-600-2206
  • Linda Moran, LCSW-C $100 - Saturday class - 301-631-2936 x304
  • Gayle Bromberg, LCSW-C$100 - Thursday Evening - 301-695-8390 x212
(Interpreters by request for in-person classes)

Mediation Services
Cases with contested custody and access, marital property, alimony, or child support are routinely ordered to mediation. Mediation is a cooperative problem-solving process facilitated by a neutral professional. The mediator helps parents develop a parenting plan, make important decisions, and reach agreements that are in the best interest of their children. The mediator also helps participants form an agreement to settle other disputed issues - such as those involving money or property.

Parties are ordered to engage with certified private mediators for 2 to 3 mediation sessions. The cost for mediation is $200 per participant per session. Income eligible parties may be ordered to the "in-house" mediator at a reduced fee.

Parties may voluntarily elect to engage with a mediator at any time (before or after filing with the court). To find a mediator, you may contact the Frederick County Bar Association at 301-663-1139, Community Mediation (CALM) at 301-631-2256, or the court at 301-600-1467.

Attorney for Minor Children
The court may appoint an attorney to represent the minor child or children if the parties are unable to settle on and implement a parenting plan. The attorney’s that represent children have completed special training focused on supporting the best interests of the children. Parents are responsible for payment of the fees for the children’s attorney, however if the parents income is sufficiently low Family Services Funds may be available to assist in payment.

Custody Evaluations
Complex custody disputes may be referred for evaluation by a mental health professional to provide evidence to the court and to offer parenting plan recommendations to the parents and the judge. The custody evaluation process assesses parental strengths and challenges and identifies children’s individual developmental needs. Parents are responsible for payment of all costs associated with the evaluation, however if the parents income is sufficiently low Family Services Funds may be available to assist in payment.

Initial Conference
This initial conference is set and held after the initial complaint is answered. The purpose is to define the issues, clarify expectations, and impose a timeline for concluding the case. The Court may order services to support settlement.

Settlement/Status Conferences
This is an opportunity for the parties to inform the Court of the issues that have been settled and if there are any issues still outstanding. Additional services may be ordered at this time.

Supervised Visitation & Monitored Exchange
Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange centers are offered to provide a safe environment for children to have parental contact or to transfer between parents.

The Family Place
The Mental Health Association operates the Supervised Visitation and Monitored Transfer Center: The Family Place on Thursday 5 p.m.  to 8 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. One-hour supervised visits or monitored transfers may be scheduled after intake interviews are complete. Therapeutic visit/Family therapy may also be offered. Fees are on sliding scale. Call 301-663-0011 for additional details.

The Center
Central Maryland Safe Haven Child Access Transfer Center provides a safe and comfortable location for parents to exchange children for weekend visitations. The center is located at St. James Episcopal Church 1307 North Main Street Mount Airy, Maryland, the center's phone number is 301-829-0325 and you can speak to someone Monday through Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center operates Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on alternate weekends. No fees

Domestic Violence Assistance
301-662-8800

Parenting Coordination
Parenting coordination is a service where parents work with a parenting coordinator to reduce the effects or potential effects of conflict on their children. The parenting coordinator helps the parents understand each other better and interact without creating additional conflict. Parenting coordination is typically referred by court order and only to professionals (see below) that have met the education, training and experience required by Maryland Rule 9-205.2.

Names
Addresses Phone Numbers
Joanie Raymond, Esq P.O. Box 160 Mount
Airy, MD 21771
301-829-5000
Karen Robbins, Esq 129-12 West Patrick St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301-668-3222
Michael W. Stern, PhD, LCSW-C 176 Thomas Johnson Drive
Suite 105
Frederick, MD 21702
240-446-3261
Rebecca Snyder, Psy. D. 65 Thomas Johnson Drive
Suite A
Frederick, MD 21702
301-682-6639
Sue Shaffer, LCSW-C 170 Thomas Johnson Drive
Suite A
Frederick, MD 21702
301-695-8390, ext. 216
Teri Heger, LCSW-C 315 West Patrick St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301-228-2303
Timothy A. Gibian, Psy D. 97 Thomas Johnson
Drive Suite 202
Frederick, MD 21702
301-695-6455x13

Legal Resources
Proof of income
Proof of income must be attached to the Motion of Fee Waiver:
  • Proof of unemployment
  • Federal Income tax return if self-employed (most recent)
  • Two recent pay stubs
  • Order for spousal support or child support that you pay or receive
  • Your lease if subsidized by HUD
  • Copy of your Food Assistance declaration or of your card
  • Temporary Cash Assistance documentation
  • Disability documentation (SSI or SSDI)