Give Children in Maryland a Voice
BCAC’s Advocacy centers around preventing and softening the harm that adults inflict on children, much of which is intentional. Some is simply evil. None of it should happen. Adults inflict it so it is up to adults to stop it. To that end, our legislative team is working on several bills that address childhood trauma, mental health and ACEs.
2019 Session Recap
In 2019, two of the main bills that BCAC worked on with our many partners became law. One, HB1007/SB739, clarified the definition of children’s advocacy centers, delineated the role of the Maryland Children’s Alliance, and made sure all the CACs in the state are on the path to being accredited. Thank you to Delegate Emily Shetty and Senator Susan Lee, cosponsors, the Maryland Children’s Alliance and CACs around the state for passing this law on its first try.
Another bill, HB 787/SB568 made sure that mandated reporters who willfully choose to ignore obvious child abuse will face criminal penalties or stiff fines. Thank you to Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary and Senator Susan Lee and cosponsors and advocates for finally moving this decade(s)-old piece of legislation into law.
2020 Session Priorities
One of the biggest bills this session is the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission to fully fund Maryland’s schools. One piece of that focuses on funding for school guidance counselors, and mental health services. BCAC is working along with social work advocates, counselors and mental health advocates to make sure that our schools have critical trauma-informed care.
Along with Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, BCAC is supporting vactur law that help Human trafficking survivors vacate petty crimes and charges that are a direct result of their victimization.
BCAC, in partnership with other advocates, is supporting other laws that help prevent or soften the harm that adults choose to inflict on kids. For example, we support bills that help prosecutors apprehend predators who solicit parents of children; that allow trained dogs to assist child witnesses in courthouse settings; extend civil and criminal penalties for predators whose crimes happened long ago; and help strengthen training for our mandatory reporters.
As part of LifeBridge Health’s comprehensive violence center, BCAC’s legislative team is also working on bills that address violence through the lifespan, including elder abuse, street violence and urban gun violence.