As we stand poised for the start of the Maryland General Assembly’s 2020 Legislative session today at 12pm, Family League looks forward to working within our coalitions to advance policy measures that will further support the transformative work we undertake throughout the year to significantly improve outcomes for children, youth, and families across the city of Baltimore. Over the next 90 days, Family League’s Public Policy Newsletter will share our positions on critical issues and keep you abreast of progress made on bills we are supporting.

By rooting our policy advocacy in Maryland’s 8 Child Wellbeing Results, we can take a macro-level, systems-view approach to improving outcomes for Baltimore’s children, families, and communities. No single policy fix will entirely change a system that has segregated black and brown families for so long. However, by grounding our work in anti-racists practices and having our positions be informed by our coalitions and community practitioners, we can hope to help create meaningful, systemic change for our City.

This year, we are working with B’More for Healthy Babies  to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes. We are also working with reproductive equity allies to build momentum around campaigns to expand access to community-based doula care, to implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers, and to support funding increases that would expand care coordination and early childhood home visiting programs in Baltimore.  

Family League continues to actively support the passage of sweeping school funding reforms geared toward increasing equitable access to high-quality education. As many may be aware, the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (commonly known as the Kirwan Commission) has finalized its work and has sent a set of recommendations on to the legislature. As a member of various coalitions weighing on this work, we have helped raise the call for the General Assembly to pass and fund the recommendations. Doing so would translate into dramatic increases in state support for most schools in Baltimore City that have historically be underfunded. However, there is still much work to be done in making sure that Kirwan funding is racially equitable.  

Family League has consistently supported the findings of Dr. Ivory Toldson who was contracted last year to work with the Commission on viewing its work through a racial equity lens. We also spent this past summer organizing with our Community School Coordinators in Southeast neighborhoods, as well as with education advocates and our legislative allies to address the undercounting of immigrant students in our schools. We collectivized our policy formulation and submitted recommendations which were adopted by the Kirwan Commission. We hope that these will be thoughtfully debated by the legislature and that a fix is implemented which leaves no students uncounted. 

As in past years, we will also continue to support legislation which helps address the lead poisoning crisis in our City, increases funding for MTA which supports student mobility to school and after-school programming, strengthens the rights of renters and residents in Rent Court, and much more.   If you’d like to get involved with our advocacy or learn more about issues at the state level, connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! We’ll be sharing updates on our work, infographics, and information about the bills for which we advocate. To stay in the loop on our Public Policy portfolio over the next 90 days, subscribe to our Public Policy Newsletter. We are extremely privileged to work closely with so many amazing coalitions and partners to advocate with the children and families of Baltimore and look forward to moving this work forward in a productive Legislative Session. We hope you’ll stay in the loop and engage in this work with us!