February 24, 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. 

Our goal is to raise $1,500 and we want to sell 150 shirts by March 11, 2021.  Currently, we have sold 18 shirts and well on the way.  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.  


In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth, we recognize unsung heroes in black history who made strides in the fight for social justice and reform.

Irene Morgan was born in Baltimore County in 1917. Morgan was arrested on a bus in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat, eleven years before Rosa Parks. Morgan took her case to the Supreme Court and won. Her actions toward fair and unbiased treatment inspired the Freedom Rides of 1961. 

We are continuing the hard work of women like Ms. Morgan by advocating for academically prepared youth, fair and unbiased treatment, and positive life experiences within healthy families and communities. Learn more about our work.

Our child welfare priorities are getting significant traction with the unanimous passage of HB258 or Child Welfare Data Bill. Rachel White, our child welfare policy director will testify on the Senate version SB592. 

This bill will require Maryland's Department of Human Services and Maryland's Department of Education to report on outcomes for youth in foster care, disaggregated by race. The data will be used to get a clearer picture of the experiences of youth in care, highlight existing disparities, and provide the baseline for creating targeted interventions to improve outcomes.

In addition to the growing momentum of our child welfare data legislation, SB155 has passed the Senate and has been assigned to the Appropriations committee. This bill expands the tuition waiver to cover accompanied homeless youth; creates a grievance process for students denied the waiver; and requires that universities establish a single point of contact to assist students who are navigating the tuition waiver process. 

For more information regarding our legislative agenda, click here.

Melissa Rock, our Birth to Three Strategic Initiative Director, will support bills this week which include:

HB783-Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which would create a statewide workgroup on screening children for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). By screening more children for ACEs, supports can be offered to these families to buffer the negative impact that ACEs have on these children and improve their outcomes as adults.

SB546-Safe Drinking Water Act, will eradicate exposure to lead in drinking water; significantly improve outcomes for all of Maryland’s children; and will close racial disparity gaps in outcomes for BIPOC children.

SB777-Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant Program, expands grant eligibility for the Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant Program to include federally qualified health centers, hospitals, and other prenatal care providers working to increase access to prenatal care. We will submit an amendment to collect race and ethnicity data of the pregnant and parenting individuals to identify and close racial disparities for BIPOC and newborns. 

HB944-Growing Family Child Care Opportunities Pilot Program, creates a pilot program to provide grants to family-based childcare programs. 

SB548-Center for Disease Control and Prevention Surveys, ensures that all the questions from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Positive Childhood Experiences are included in Maryland’s Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS). 

SB890-The Child Care Provider Support Act, creates grants for licensed in-home childcare and center-based providers to stay open or re-open. It is an important step in ensuring that Maryland’s childcare system meets the state’s childcare needs.

For more information regarding our legislative agenda, click here.


For the past year, the Maryland Juvenile Justice Reform Council (JJRC) met to do a comprehensive examination of the juvenile criminal legal system in the state. Advocates for Children and Youth, along with the Maryland Youth Justice Coalition (MYJC), followed the JJRC closely, submitting informational briefs and recommendations along the way. In January, the JJRC released a final report and recommendations. Those recommendations were converted into historic legislation - an omnibus bill. This week Hannah Breakstone, our Policy Associate, will testify in support of this bill, HB1187, which focuses on four large changes that will improve the juvenile justice system in Maryland:

  1. Raises the minimum age of juvenile court jurisdiction;
  2. Bans the use of juvenile jail and youth prison for low level offenses;
  3. Limits terms of probation; and
  4. Makes it easier to divert young people out of the system.

In addition, Advocates for Children and Youth will support the following reforms: 

HB169-Informal Adjustment, will formalize the process of allowing judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys to have more flexibility in recommending community diversion programs. 

HB362–Probation, will limit otherwise indefinite probation terms for youth in Maryland. It sets maximum probation sentences for youth who fall into certain low-level categories, yet still allows for that sentence to be extended as needed by the Court. 


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 is pleased to invite applications to serve on the our Board. Join us!

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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