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ACTION ALERT: To send a letter in support of HB 439/ SB 685: “Family Law – Information and Services for Foster Children and Former Foster Children” to legislators, click here.

While we do not have Maryland specific data, national studies show exponential rates of homelessness and reliance on public benefits for former foster youth.
We need legislation to:
• Prevent homelessness in former foster youth
• Require eligibility screening and applications for public benefits for foster youth as they transition to independence;
• Require that when foster youth emancipate that have all the documents they need including a state id, their Birth Certificate, their Social Security card, and their medical records (which is now mandated by the Federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act)

February 11, 2015
HB 439/ SB 685: “Family Law – Information and Services for Foster Children and Former Foster Children”
Delegate Mary Washington is sponsoring HB 439 in the House and Senator Joanne Benson is sponsoring the crossfile, SB 685, in the Senate. The House co-sponsors include Delegates C.T. Wilson, D. Barnes, Barron, Buckel, Carter, Cullison, Glenn, Hettleman, Hill, McComas, Moon, Morales, Oaks, Proctor, B. Robinson, and P. Young. The Senate co-sponsors include Senators Currie, Ferguson, Guzzone, Jennings, Kagan, King, Madaleno, Manno, McFadden, Middleton, Muse, Nathan-Pulliam, Pinsky, Ramirez, Rosapepe, and Young.

To access HB 439/SB 685’s page on Maryland’s General Assembly website, click here.

February 18, 2015
A legislative update was sent which included a call to action for supporters to write to their legislators to submit a favorable report on the bill. To send a letter, click here.

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February 19, 2015
HB 439’s hearing was held at 1 pm in the House Judiciary Committee. To read our testimony, click here.

February 26, 2015
The House Judiciary Committee voted favorably with Amendments on HB 439!

March 3, 2015
SB 685’s hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee was today. Senator Benson gave the bill a passionate introduction and then the witnesses included Melissa Rock (Advocates for Children and Youth), Amy Petkovsek (from the Legal Aid Bureau, invited to testify by Senator Lee), Ruth Ann White (from the National Center on Housing and Child Welfare), Denise Joseph (from Hope Forward), Shawneqwa Evans (a former foster youth from Baltimore County and Baltimore City) and Ingrid Lofgren (from the Homeless Persons Representation Project).

March 5, 2015
HB 439 passed third reader unanimously in the House and SB 685 got a favorable report in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. These bills are well on their way to becoming law!

March 13, 2015
SB 685 passed third reader unanimously in the Senate!

March 14, 2015
SB 685/HB 439 was signed into law today by Governor Hogan! We are very grateful to everyone who helped get this law passed. We are hopeful that it will help prevent homelessness in youth who age out of the foster care system.