Public Policy Newsletter: February 6th, 2019

The 2019 Legislative Session is in full swing down in Annapolis! Family League is working around-the-clock to advance policies that will support Baltimore’s children, youth, and families – 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 8 Child Well-Being Results Areas. This issue focuses on Children are Healthy. For us, this includes our work in the Community Schools Strategy, Out-of-School Time programming, Expanded Youth Programs, and a focus on Food Access. 

As the lead organizer of the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, Family League is deeply committed to increasing access to healthy and nutritious food. One key step in that work this year is seeing the passage of House Bill 338 / Senate Bill 218, the “Summer SNAP for Children Act” – a bold measure aimed at reducing food insecurity for children and families during the summer months. This bill would support families of school-aged children by providing $30 per month, per child, in direct financial food assistance via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

Studies have shown that children with access to nutritious food exhibit fewer behavioral problems, can better participate in school,1 and have better overall academic outcomes.2 Families in food deserts are doubly burdened as they lack access to markets or grocery stores with fresh, healthy, affordable food. Yet, these families often have easy access to fast food restaurants and convenience stores with cheap, unhealthy, processed foods.3 Studies show that unbalanced diets heavy in salt, fat, and sugar contribute to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease – the leading cause of death in Baltimore City.4

Passage of HB 338/SB 218 will go a long way to improve year-round access to healthy foods for some of most vulnerable populations while also helping to ensure Children are Ready to Learn and that Families are Safe and Economically Stable.

13 Kleinman RE, Murphy JM, Little M, Pagano M, Wehler CA, Regal K, Jellinek MS. (1998) “Hunger in Children in the United States: Potential Behavioral and Emotional Correlates.” Pediatrics, 101(1):E3.
28 Wyon D, Abrahamsson L, Jartelius M, Fletcher R. (1997) “An Experimental Study of the Eff ects of Energy Intake at Breakfast on the Test Performance of 10 Year-Old Children in School.” International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, 48(1):5-12.
3Weisbecker A. Few Healthy Food Choices in Urban Food Deserts. Food Safety News website.
4Published May 21, 2010. Accessed February 16, 2017.
Spencer M, Petteway R, Bacetti LV, Barbot O. (2011) Healthy Baltimore 2015. Baltimore, MD.

Updates from Annapolis

Did you see? Mayor Pugh released her Policy Priorities for 2019.

Family League recently participated in the Maryland Alliance for the Poor “Meet and Greet” with legislators. We were able to speak with new and returning Delegates and Senators about our legislative priorities and the role of their Local Management Board in supporting children and youth in all 24 counties.