HB1/SB64- Children in Need of Assistance—Education Stability
Requires the juvenile court to inquire on the educational stability and educational plan of a foster child at specified hearings and proceedings
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and Youth supported this bill because it provides court oversight to ensure that the foster child’s educational needs are being met.
HB178—Family Law—Adoption, Search, Contact and Reunion Services—Relatives of Minors in Out-of-Home Placement
Expands search, contact, and reunion services to include contacting specified relatives of a minor in out-of-home placement to develop a placement resource or facilitate a family connection
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and Youth supported this bill because in cases where a young person is adopted from the foster care system, the adoption is not permanent and the child returns to foster care, the Department of Social Services can contact biological relatives for placement and visitation resources.
HB151—Child in Need of Supervision Pilot Program—Expansion
Requires the creation of a Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) Child in Need of Supervision (CINS) Pilot Program in two counties each year until the Pilot Program is available in every county in the State, and includes funding for the programs in DJS’ budget
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and Youth supported the CINS programs in Baltimore County and City because they have had prevented hundreds of young people who were struggling with issues such as truancy from becoming formally involved with the delinquency system.
SB144—Family Law—Foster Care—Kinship Parent Requirements
Lowers, from 21 years to 18 years, the age that a person is designated as a relative caretaker for a child in need of an out-of-home placement
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and Youth supported this bill because it broadens the pool of relatives with whom youth can be placed, creating a greater possibility that youth will be able to be in the least restrictive placement possible.
HB315/SB396 – Equity Court Jurisdiction – Immigrant Children – Custody or Guardianship Petitions
Expands court jurisdiction to young people who are 18-20 to allow the court to make the factual findings required for that person to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, for undocumented young people who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and Youth supported this bill which allows eligible 18-20 year old immigrants who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned to seek a path toward legal residency in the United States.
HB794/SB794- Department of Planning– Maryland Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Young Adult Count Demonstration Project
Requires the Department of Planning to select a coordinating entity to oversee the Maryland Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Young Adult Count Demonstration Project
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and youth supported this bill because it will help us collect data about unstably housed youth so we can better meet their needs. This bill creates a demonstration project to count the homeless youth in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Wicomico County.
HB1307 – Children in Out-of-Home Placement – Notice of Annual Benefits AMENDED
Requires that abused and neglected children in out-of-home placements receive notice each year explaining the benefits they will be entitled to receive upon aging out of foster care including college tuition waiver, health insurance, job trainings, and internship opportunities
Why this bill is important: Advocates for Children and Youth supported this bill as it ensures that foster youth are aware of and apply for benefits for which they are eligible.