The 2019 Legislative Session is in its third week, and things are already moving ahead at full speed! Family League’s Policy Team has been on the ground, briefing legislators and working on our priority bills. Check out our 2019 Legislative Priorities Packet to learn more about the work we’re doing and the bills we’re helping to move this year!
Each issue of our Public Policy Newsletter will focus on one of Maryland’s 8 Child Well-Being Results Areas and policy currently in the works to make progress in those areas possible.
B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB) is Baltimore’s city-wide strategy to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. BHB is led by the Baltimore City Health Department with Family League and HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) serving as lead implementation partners. BHB works to improve policies and services while mobilizing community members in comprehensive approaches that support mothers, babies, and families. Since 2009, the gap between black and white infant deaths has closed by 50 percent, the infant mortality rate has declined by 38 percent, and teen births have declined by 36 percent.
To continue advancing this work, Family League works to move policies that support infant and maternal health. This year, we are working on two bills that will lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies across Baltimore City.
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.
The Governor was sworn in for a second term last week, and shortly after he released his budget for FY2020. You can see the Administration’s press release here for a snapshot of some of their spending priorities.
The Kirwan Commission met last week for the first time in the new year. They presented an updated set of “Down Payment on Commission Recommendations” which increased their request to $325M for FY2020. Of note is the suggestion to fund a community school coordinator and health practitioner for schools with 80% or more concentration of poverty. This would have a significant impact on the Community Schools landscape in the years ahead. Stay tuned to future editions of this newsletter to learn about the work Family League is doing to strengthen the Community School strategy along with the legislature this year!
Baltimore City Public Schools last week released a robust set of recommendations for a “World Class Education System in Baltimore.” In it, they lay out their vision along with the building blocks identified by the Kirwan Commission. Family League is in strong support of full and robust funding for Baltimore City Public Schools, recognizing that a thriving public school system is one of the key strategies for improving outcomes for children and families in our city.
If you have questions about any of our priority areas, or want to get involved in our advocacy efforts in Annapolis this year, please email Matt Quinlan, Public Policy Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.