Influencing Systems

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:

As many may be aware, the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (commonly known as the Kirwan Commission) has delayed their final recommendations until later in 2019. While this is a set-back to a long overdue adjustment of our state’s school funding formulas, we are hopeful that the Commissioners will take additional time to work on adequately addressing racial equity in their final recommendations. 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.

There is still much work to be done in this regard. 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 in the coming weeks. 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. Stay tuned-in to our policy newsletter to get more updates as other bills arise this Session.

In addition to critical school funding work, we are working with the B’More for Healthy Babies strategy to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, and to increase funding for care coordination through the Thrive by Three fund.

We also want to make it easier for local health departments to access data related to maternal mortality so they can more quickly and adeptly address the factors which lead to high maternal and infant mortality rates. That’s why we’re working on legislation to establish Local Maternal Mortality Review Teams and to require the statewide Maternal Mortality Review Committee to share disaggregated data with local health departments.

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.


Policy Testimony

Family League works with elected officials each legislative session to ensure that laws passed at the state level have positive impacts on Baltimore’s children, youth, and families. Click here for copies of testimony we’ve submitted to members of the Maryland General Assembly in support of the communities we serve.

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