April 8, 2021

The time is now for youth justice reform and the clock is ticking.  We are strategically working to convince legislators to vote these transformational bills into law. As supporters, we encourage you to participate in one, if not all, advocacy approaches today.

WHAT: Urge state lawmakers to pass youth justice bills HB315/SB136 and HB1187/SB853
WHO: Delegate Bartlett (District 32, Anne Arundel County), the Legislative Black Caucus, and youth justice advocates
WHEN: TODAY (Thursday, April 8th) at 9:30AM EST
WHERE: Lawyers Mall, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401 or stream on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BRIDGEMarylandInc

Share this opinion piece written by our coalition partners at the Juvenile Public Defender’s Unit in Baltimore City and Human Rights for Kids entitled, Maryland commits human rights violations against its children.  It highlights the State's most notable human rights violations against children and the need to enact bills that champion youth justice reform.

The Juvenile Justice Reform bill (SB853) is stuck in committee although receiving overwhelming bipartisan support on its way to becoming law. 
Please tweet the following message to Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair Will Smith and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Vice Chair Jeff Waldstreicher: @willcsmithjr and @jwaldstreicher Maryland needs common-sense youth justice reform. We say we want results. SB853 is a multi-faceted approach that gets us there.  VOTE ON SB853 TODAY. Maryland’s Black and Latinx children can’t wait for justice.

 Juvenile Restoration Act (SB 494), which prohibits courts from imposing life sentences for youth under eighteen regardless of charge or jurisdiction, passed 32-15 with a veto-proof majority in the Senate. This bill, which also states that youth who are convicted as adults may file a motion to reduce the duration of that individual's sentence, is officially headed to the Governor for signature. 


We are making our mark toward education equity as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is now law! Governor Hogan allowed the bill to become law immediately and without necessitating his signature. The Blueprint not only addresses closing the education gaps through historic levels of funding but also COVID-related impacts around learning loss; the glaring digital divide; as well as social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health supports for students. Thank you to all our supporters, coalition partners, donors and funders who made this law possible.  Special kudos to every legislator who voted to invest in our children. Our video thank you to legislators is 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.


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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