HB 1476: Education – Supplemental Prekindergarten Grant – Eligibility: This legislation provides supplemental funding for counties that are providing pre-kindergarten (pre-K)for all eligible and then at least 50% of eligible children. It is critical that this bill passes so that we are offering high quality pre-K for low income children and children of color who research shows receive the greatest benefit from pre-K attendance. For more information, click here to read our testimony. Unfortunately, this bill never received a vote in Ways and Means.
SB 912/HB 1685: Maryland Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant Program Fund (Thrive by Three Fund): This legislation creates a fund in support of care coordination services and evidence based supports for low income pregnant and parenting women and to children ages birth through three. We are thrilled to see this legislation which would help support this critical time in young children’s lives. Please click here to read our testimony.
HB 304/SB 801: Environment – Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing – Elevated Blood Lead Levels: This legislation expands the children who are lead poisoned that will be eligible for services. Despite all lead exposure being poisonous for children, current law requires a child to have a lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter, but this legislation lowers the level to 5 micrograms per deciliter. Children with lead poisoning are 6 times more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system and 7 times more likely to drop out of high school. Given that black children are twice are likely to experience lead poisoning, if we are going to eliminate racial disparities it is critical that we provide services to more of children who are poisoned by lead in their environments. Click here to read more. Unfortunately, these bills never received votes in the House Environment and Transportation or Senate Judicial Proceedings Committees.
HB 430/SB 379: Education–Child Care Subsidies–Mandatory Funding Levels: Child Care Subsidies are available for low income families to help ensure that they have access to high quality child. Maryland’s Child Care Subsidy Program does achieve this goal because the subsidies are not robust enough to give these families access to child care. While the federal government recommends that these subsidies be up to the 75th% of the child care costs, Maryland’s are currently around the 9th%. That means 91% of child care across the state is more expensive than what the subsidy would cover. This legislation raises the subsidy over 3 years to get Maryland’s subsidy to the 60th% by 2022. To read ACY’s testimony in support, click here. We are thrilled that this legislation passed!
HB 547/SB 373: Education–Head Start Program- Annual Appropriation: Head Start is a critical program for young child and their families that provides early education services to the children and linkages to other important services for their families. This legislation would ensure that there is at least $3 million budgeted for the program each year. Click here to read ACY’s testimony in support. We are excited that this legislation passed!