Public Policy Newsletter: February 20th, 2019

We are now one-third of the way through the 90-day Legislative Session in Annapolis. Family League is working around-the-clock to advance policies that will support Baltimore’s children and youth – 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 newsletter will focus on one of Maryland’s Eight Child Well-Being Results Areas. In this issue, we focus on Children Enter School Ready to Learn. For Family League, this includes our work with the School Readiness Coalition, and our advocacy on issues like the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education’s (commonly known as the “Kirwan Commission”) Early Childhood Education recommendations.

Last week, 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 January 2019 Interim Report. 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 Judy Centers, Family Support Centers, the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program, all-day pre-k to 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. Toldson, a consultant brought in to provide a race equity analysis of their work to date, but much 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.

Updates from Annapolis

Maternal & Infant Health

The last week was a big one for Family League’s priority bills on maternal and infant health, with hearings on three of the bills we have been working on over the last year! We had incredible support from advocates – including powerful and passionate testimony from doulas, pediatricians, home visitors, Health Department officials, and advocates from across the state. Check it out!

Maternal Mortality Review – Local Teams SB602
This bill would allow local health departments, including the Baltimore City Health Department, to create their own local Maternal Mortality Review Teams. Currently, Baltimore has a local Fetal-Infant Mortality Review but is unable to create a similar body to review data and target interventions geared toward reducing maternal deaths. Read more here.

Maternal Mortality Review – Racial Disparities SB356  
This bill would require the state’s review of maternal deaths to include, in it’s annual report, a dedicated and robust section on racial disparities. This has not been included consistently from year-to-year, despite the troubling racial disparity that Maryland faces, in which Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die as the result of complications from childbirth and delivery than White women.

Thrive by Three SB406 
This bill would provide funding for the state’s Thrive by Three Grants Program, expanding opportunities for care coordination for expecting and new mothers, and children 0-3. Read more here.

Budget Hearings

Family League President & CEO Demaune Millard was in both the House Appropriations and the Senate Budget & Taxation Committees last week testifying in support of the Governor’s Office for Children Interagency Fund. These state dollars are distributed statewide to Local Management Boards (LMB); the coordinating bodies in each county that provide funding for local programs that support  Maryland’s Eight Child Well-Being Results Areas. Family League is the LMB for Baltimore City.

We Love Community Schools Day

We also Celebrated “We Love Community Schools Day” with our partners from Maryland 4 Community Schools. Check out Pamela Johnson (left) and Jessica Chiaramonte (right), our Community Schools Specialists, talking about the Community School Strategy with lawmakers from across the state.


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