Home > Policies > Child Welfare > Expand existing birth match legislation to protect newborn babies

4/3/18: HB 454 passed second reader on the Senate floor!

4/3/18: SB 490 passed second reader with amendments in the House.

4/3/18: SB 490 received a Favorable with Amendments vote in the House Judiciary Committee so SB 490 matches HB 454.

4/2/18: HB 454 received a favorable report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

3/14/18: SB 490 had a great hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

3/1/18: HB 454 passed third reader unanimously! It’s off to the Senate!

2/26/18: HB 454 passed second reader unanimously!

2/23/18: SB 490 passed third reader and is off to the House!

2/22/18: HB 454 received a unanimous Favorable with Amendments report from the House Judiciary Committee!

2/21/18: SB 490 passed second reader on the Senate Floor!  We are happy about the quick momentum…just one more step before it crosses to the House for a vote!!!

2/19/18: SB 490 received a unanimous Favorable with Amendments report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee!

2/8/18: We had great hearings in the Senate Judicial Proceedings and House Judiciary Committees.

HB 454 & SB 490 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 8th at 1 pm.

Our Birth Match bill is HB 454! We are grateful to Delegate Moon for being our lead sponsor and to the following delegates for being co-sponsors: Delegate Atterbeary, Delegate Corderman, Delegate Dumais, Delegate Hill, Delegate Hornberger, Delegate McComas, Delegate Proctor, Delegate Queen, Delegate Sanchez, and Delegate Sydnor.

Currently, Birth Match allows the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Health to share and match birth records of parents whose parental rights have been terminated within the last 5 years when they have a new baby. Given that these parents have already had their parental rights terminated once, this doesn’t open a new case, but allows a caseworker to assesses the safety of the child in the home. Data shows that half of all child fatalities are of infants less than 1 year old.[1] Nationally parents were the perpetrators in approximately 75% of all child deaths caused by abuse or neglect. [2]

Egregious gaps exist within Maryland’s Birth Match, that can prove to be a life or death circumstance for vulnerable infants. We need to close those gaps by including:

  1. A parent who has been convicted of murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter. Currently if a parent has murdered a prior child, birth match is not triggered because the parent’s right have not been terminated for that child.
  2. A parents rights have been terminated within the last 10 years (rather than merely 5 years)

Protect our most vulnerable Marylanders by closing these gaps to protect more infants from subsequent child abuse, neglect, or even death.

[1] Child Welfare Information Gateway, The Children’s Bureau, “Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities: 2015” at p.3. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/fatality.pdf

[2] United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2009