Advocates for Children and Youth honors social justice, diversity, race equity, and inclusion. We speak out boldly against the racial disparities that continue to divide our state, devastate families, and kill the dreams, visions, and potential of children and youth in this country. Incident, after videotaped incident, racism, exclusion, bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, power, and privilege —blatant or covert—must stop. For our full statement, click here.
April Webinar: Register Today
Join Nonso Umunna, our Research Director, and Melissa Rock, our Birth to Three Strategic Initiative Director, on Tuesday, April 13th from 3PM-5PM for our third webinar, Creating Safe Spaces: Children and the Settings They Inhabit.
Using data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT Data Center, and speaking with experts Krystal Williams and Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith, we will dive deep into the status of Maryland's children and the steps we need to take in order to secure a better future for Maryland's children and youth.
Click here to register. Until then, check out our February webinar, African American Families in Maryland: A Perspective Through Data.
Baltimore City’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or WIC is still working remotely assist families during the pandemic.
WIC provides food benefits to hundreds of pregnant women and families with children under age 5 safely by telephone appointment each week. However, there are many who qualify for WIC benefits and other government programs but have not applied.
If you know of any new mothers or families who need assistance, please share this link which is a prescreening tool to determine eligibility.
Advocates for Children and Youth is dedicated to ensuring that children have positive life experiences in healthy families and communities. One way is to stave off hunger. Please join us by sharing this resource with your networks.
We are pleased to share that the following bills that ACY supported, have passed all the way through their respective chambers before the crossover deadline which means we are one step closer to them becoming law. The bills are:
HB28/SB5 Public Health- Implicit Bias Training and the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities builds upon legislation from 2020 and requires all medical providers participate in implicit bias training. Bias by medical providers is a leading cause of the racial disparities in birth outcomes for both Black birthing individuals and Black babies across Maryland. A Black person is almost 4 times more likely to die than a White person within a year of giving birth, which is higher than the national Maternal Mortality Rate.
HB776 State Department of Education - Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Project - Study and Report requires that a study be done of Maryland’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Project. ACY supported this bill and successfully advocated that the study include an evaluation of the staff qualifications of Maryland’s IECMHC program because studies have found improved outcomes when that staff has a behavioral health background.
SB777 Public Health - Maryland Prenatal and Infant Care Grant Program Fund expands the Maryland Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant Program Fund which ACY’s advocacy efforts helped create in 2018. SB 777 expands who can apply for these grants and significantly increases the appropriate for the fund. Preference will be given to communities with high numbers of births to Maryland Medicaid recipients, high rates of infant mortality, and high rates of preterm births which we are hopeful will reduce racial disparities in health outcomes for Black and Latinx Marylanders.
For more information regarding our legislative agenda, click here.
ACY's youth justice legislative priorities have also passed all the way through their respective chambers and could become law in April. They are:
HB315 Juvenile Interrogation Protection Act affirms children's right to counsel. Every day in Maryland, children entangled in the legal justice system are questioned without a parent or attorney present. As a result, they face criminal charges, prosecution, and incarceration without the basic due process rights that adults are entitled to. This is particularly dire for Black and Brown children, who are overpoliced.
SB494 Juvenile Restoration Act prohibits courts from imposing life sentences for youth under eighteen, regardless of charge or jurisdiction. This bill also states that youth who are convicted as adults may file a motion to reduce the duration of that individual's sentence.
HB1121 Juvenile Services - Workgroup to Develop Evidence-Based, Research-Based, and Culturally Competent Practices requires that the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and Department of Human Services (DHS) convene a workgroup to increase accountability for prevention and intervention services delivered to children by DJS. This workgroup will have to complete an assessment and publish an inventory, as well as identify specific factors for assessing certain practices within the system.
HB1187 Juvenile Justice Reform builds upon the work of Maryland's Juvenile Justice Reform Council, which met to do a deep examination of the juvenile criminal legal system in Maryland. The bill focuses on four large changes that will improve the youth 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 kids out of the system.
For more information regarding our legislative agenda, click here.
Advocates for Children and Youth is looking for leaders to join our Board of Directors. A unique leadership opportunity awaits if you seek to put your talent in strategic thinking, financial forecasting, organizational behavior, project management, policy, advocacy, or events in service to ensuring equity for all kids in Maryland.
If you have any questions, please contact Mariama Boney, Interim Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Framework, Theory of Change, and 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 |