Family League engages, informs and collaborates with leaders and policymakers to create an efficient network of opportunities for children and families in Baltimore through policy recommendations at the local, state and national levels. We believe sharing data helps bring positive and lasting change for Baltimore families.
We recognize that it is critical to approach our work through a racial equity lens. The Racial Equity Analysis Tool supports our efforts to advocate for policy changes in a way that mitigates the impact of racism entrenched in existing structures by accounting for stakeholder input, unintended consequences, root-cause transformational ability, and questions of implementation in the development of legislation.
Foundational to the success of this work is our ability to influence systems and advocate for solid public policy. Our 2019 policy priorities are guided by the eight Maryland Results for Child Well-Being. Our high-priority issue areas include:
Family League supports policy to achieve healthy birth outcomes; specifically decreased infant and maternal mortality.
Funding for Maryland’s Thrive by Three Grant program
Last year, we helped to pass the implementation of this bill, led by Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegate Adrienne Jones, with our close partners at Maryland Family Network. This year we are working with members of B’More for Healthy Babies, Advocates for Children and Youth, and others to secure funding for care coordination that will support the BHB strategy. Read more here.
Supporting the need for local Maternal Mortality Review Committees
The state of Maryland currently has a statewide Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), but there is no mechanism to allow such reviews to happen at the local level. In Baltimore City, the impacts of racism, redlining, and poverty disproportionately impact the health of women of color. A growing body of research is supporting the theory that transgenerational stress has potentially fatal impacts on women of color during childbirth. Without disaggregated and local data, health officials in Baltimore are limited in addressing our high rate of maternal morbidity and mortality. Read more here.
Family League advocates for policy that removes barriers to access to nutritious meals and supports programming focused on healthy lifestyles.
This legislative session, we are working closely with our food access coalition, the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, to reduce food insecurity for children in the summer months by proposing a Summer SNAP supplement for families. There is significant statewide momentum behind this issue, and we are looking forward to working with our legislative allies in the coming months.
This policy will not only work to ensure that children are healthy but that they are also able to succeed in school and that families are economically stable, two other pivotal areas of child well-being. Read more here.
Family League supports policy that addresses key drivers to increasing school readiness by kindergarten.
The Kirwan Commission – the body that has been meeting for over two years to analyze and recommend an overhaul to the state’s education system – released its Interim Report in January 2019. It includes in-depth breakdowns of each of the Commission’s Policy Areas. Family League supports many of the recommendations found in the Early Childhood Education Policy area, including expansions of Judy Centers, Family Support Centers, the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program, and all-day Pre-K to include all three- and four-year-olds.
However, Family League has urged the Commission to move beyond a race-neutral approach, and instead, direct funding and services in a way that addresses the impacts of historical and contemporary segregation. The Interim Report has incorporated much of the recommendations of Dr. Ivory Toldson, a consultant brought in to provide a race equity analysis of their work to date, but significant work remains. The real work will begin once a Kirwan bill is introduced, giving advocates and policymakers the opportunity to debate and shape what will be the final outcome of the Commission’s work.
Family League supports policy that improves student attendance, supports high-quality expanded learning opportunities and improves school climate.
The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (commonly known as the Kirwan Commission) was created by legislation in 2016. It brings together representatives from across the State to review the findings of the Study of Adequacy of Funding for Education in Maryland, hear from national experts on world class education systems, and make recommendations for improving education in Maryland through funding, policies, and resources that will prepare Maryland students “to meet the challenges of a changing global economy, to meet the State’s workforce needs, to be prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce, and to be successful citizens in the 21st century.” In this regard, Family League supports the findings of Dr. Ivory Toldson, who has been working with the Commission to pursuing its work through a racial equity lens.
While the Commission has delayed their final recommendations until later in 2019, there is still much work to be done. We are working closely with our legislative allies to address undercounting of immigrant students in our schools, and to strengthen and support a statewide definition of Community Schools.
In the meantime, the Kirwan Commission has also released a set of preliminary recommendations which will most likely turn into legislation. Much of our education advocacy is rooted in our work in the Community Schools Steering Committee, the Maryland for Community Schools coalition, and the Coalition to Reform School Discipline. Read more here.
Family League advocates for policy that supports reduction in dropout rates among high school-aged youth.
Family League advocates for policy that provides supports for youth-focused workforce development.
Family League supports policy that ensures safe environments that allow children and families to thrive.
Family League supports policy that provides equitable access to a living wage and opportunities for economic security.