February 11, 2021

Support the Next Generation of Young People

Today, you can boldly display your support for equity for all Maryland's children, youth, and families with your purchase of an Equi-TEE. The t-shirts, available for a limited time, are $22 each. T-shirts, which are designed by Makaylie Muller, range from youth XS to 4XL in adult sizes. 

Proceeds from the campaign will support our transformational work as we advance policies and programs to ensure children and families of every race, ethnicity, and place of birth achieve their full potential.  


Melissa Rock, our Birth to Three Strategic Initiative Director, supports the following bills:

HB548/SB299-Human Services-Trauma-Informed Care-Commission and Training- creates a Commission on Trauma-Informed Care which is an important step towards shifting Maryland’s agencies towards trauma-informed care.  This approach improves the quality of services; reduces youth involvement with the child welfare and youth justice systems; protects children and families who have experienced trauma; continues access to appropriate care, and improves outcomes. 

HB551-Maryland Medical Assistance Program and Health Insurance- Coverage and Reimbursement of Telehealth Services- expands access for Medicaid recipients to telehealth medical and behavioral health services. The bill keeps the telehealth expansions adopted since the beginning of the pandemic. Telehealth options eliminate many access barriers including transportation, travel time, and childcare.

HB636-School Buildings - Drinking Water Outlets - Elevated Level of Lead (Safe School Drinking Water Act)- eradicates exposure to lead in drinking water which impairs brain development and impedes social emotional development which negatively impacts the youth’s ability to learn, regulate emotions, and control behavior.  

HB134-Business Regulation - Flavored Tobacco Products - Prohibition- bans flavored tobacco products and helps to reverse the trend of tobacco usage among children. 

HB771/SB548- Public Schools - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Surveys - Revisions- ensures that all nationally validated questions regarding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Positive Childhood Experiences are included in Maryland’s YRBS.

HB 776-State Department of Education - Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Project- Study and Report- requires a study of Maryland’s ECMHC Program be completed by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Maryland’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) Program is a resource that early childhood providers can access (including family- and center-based day cares as well as Early Head Start and Head Start) when a child displays extreme behavior. A mental health consultant assesses whether referrals should be made for the child to receive social emotional supports, or if changes by the childcare provider could correct the behavior. This program is critical, especially given the significant toll the COVID-19 pandemic is having on children’s behavioral health. 

For more information regarding our legislative agenda, click here.


Rachel White, our Child Welfare Policy Director, was instrumental in securing unanimous votes out of committee for two of our priority bills:

SB155-Higher Education - Tuition Exemption for Foster Care Recipients and Homeless Youth - Alterations and Reports

This bill makes strides for foster and homeless youth who pursue higher education in the following ways:

  • Changes the method by which a public higher education institution is required to verify that a youth is homeless;
  • Provides that foster and homeless youth who receive tuition exemption are entitled to priority consideration for on-campus housing; and
  • Requires public higher education institutions to make application for certain tuition exemption available to current and prospective students.

HB258-State Child Welfare System-Reporting, requires the collection of disaggregated data to reduce racial disparities and disparate outcomes through targeted interventions for youth of color in the child welfare system. Data points will include information on educational and health outcomes. 

For more information regarding our legislative agenda, click here.


This week, Hannah Breakstone, ACY's youth justice and education policy associate, discussed Maryland Youth Justice Coalition's (MYJC) policy priorities with young people from Community Law In Action's (CLIA) leadership and advocacy program. Hannah reviewed how Maryland's legislative branch functions, the fundamentals of coalition work and how to incorporate and center the personal experiences, expertise, and the voices of youth in youth justice reform.    


Over the past year, Advocates for Children and Youth's Board of Directors and Staff have been working on refining our approach to advocacy. We shared our mission statement, launched our campaign, Equity for All Kids during the 2020 legislative session, and continue to be responsive and preemptive to the new challenges that the pandemic has either magnified or exposed. 

To give you further insight into our progress toward racial equity and inclusion both internally and externally, we are sharing our Strategic FrameworkTheory of Changeand Values.  With these tools in hand, we will work toward building a strong Maryland by advancing policies and programs to ensure children and families of every race, ethnicity, and place of birth achieve their full potential.

Advocates for Children and Youth
One N. Charles Street | Suite 2400 | Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Advocates for Children and Youth is funded by: Abell Foundation | The Annie E. Casey Foundation | Arnold Ventures | Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation | Clayton Baker | The Fund for Change | Fund for Families with Young Children | Greater Washington Community Foundation | Lockhart Vaughan Foundation | Meyer Foundation | OSI-Baltimore | Partnership for America's Children

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