Advocates for Children and Youth

Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) was founded in 1987 by a group of prominent child advocates in Maryland who saw the need for an independent organization to advocate for the needs of the state's children and families in the community, the media and the public policy arena. Since its founding, ACY’s mission has been to identify problems, promote policies and programs that improve results for Maryland children in measurable and meaningful ways, and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies for the state's children and youth. Its goals include ensuring that children have access to affordable, quality health care coverage in Maryland. See below for more information about ACY’s recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!

Legislative Advocacy

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  • ACY Advocates for Protecting Pediatric Dental Benefits

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth submitted a letter of information to the Maryland Senate Finance Committee advocating for robust pediatric dental benefits in the Qualified Health Plans offered through the Exchange. The letter identified critical consumer protections applicable to pediatric dental benefits including: the prohibition against exclusions for pre-existing conditions, rescission, and provision of guaranteed rates; the right to appeal; no cost-sharing for routine and preventive care; and availability of linguistically accessible “Summary of Dental Plan Benefits.” 

  • It's a Wrap! ACY Released 2013 Legislative Wrap-Up Highlighting Major Wins for Children!

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  • ACY Released March 2013 Legislative Hearing Schedule

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    MD: In an effort to update individuals on legislative bills focusing on children’s rights, Advocates for Children and Youth released a list of legislative hearings that will be held in March. The list also provides a brief description of each bill and the respective committee reviewing each bill.
  • Want to Know What’s Going on in Maryland? ACY Released an Update on the State's Legislative Activity on Exchange Development

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) published a webpage providing updates on their 2013 legislative activity, including supporting the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 (SB 274/HB 208) which would expand the Medicaid program and continue to implement the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. In addition, ACY submitted proposed amendments to SB 274/HB 208 to strengthen the bill on former foster care children, continuity of care for serious pediatric dental conditions, twelve-month continuous enrollment, and developing a standing committee for on-going stakeholder participation.  
  • Temper the Transition! ACY Published Legislative Priorities to Ensure Continuity of Care for Children and Families who Transition Between the Exchange and State Coverage Options

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth published their 2013 Health Legislative Priorities list which includes information on proposed work and its potential impact in the state. Included in the list is ACY’s plan to work to ensure that the State-Based Exchange is adequately funded and to develop legislation/regulations on continuity of care policies for children and families who transition between the Exchange and state coverage options.
  • ACY and First Focus Published an Op-ed on How the Fiscal Cliff May Impact Children

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    Rebecca Wagner, Executive Director of ACY, and Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children, published an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun discussing how the fiscal cliff could hurt child welfare. 
  • ACY Held a Tweet-a-thon on Deficit Reduction

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) held a tweet-a-thon to federal policy makers on December 10th to encourage them to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
  • ACY Published Questions to Kick Start Discussions on Children's Coverage with the Presidential Candidates

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    MD: Advocates for Children & Youth published seven questions to help kick start discussions on children’s coverage with candidates during the 2012 federal election. ACY also released a list of how sequestration of the federal budget will affect Maryland children.
  • ACY Encouraged Advocates to Contact Legislators in Support of Passing State Budget

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) issued a message to encourage advocates to contact Maryland Legislators when they reconvene on May 14th to pass the state budget. According to the message, the Maryland General Assembly left on recess without passing a full budget and ACY asks advocates to urge legislators to pass a budget that: (1) supports revenues for children; (2) stops "harmful" cuts to welfare, education and other children's services; and (3) protects children in less wealthy jurisdictions.
  • ACY Released Legislative Updates on Exchange Bills

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released a Health 2012 Legislative Wrap Up and press release highlighting passed bills focusing on the Exchange, dental benefits and other health related efforts. Key highlights include: (1) HB443: The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 defines and operationalizes functions of the state's Exchange, which includes the foundation for the Navigator program; (2) SB234: Establishes Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs) that will target state resources to reduce health disparities, improve outcomes, and reduce costs and readmissions; (3) HB1401/SB867: Establishes educational efforts to improve oral health in schools; and (4) a number of other bills focusing on home visitation, young adult consent to certain medical procedures, prohibition of certain animal feed, and a tax increase on cigars and smokeless tobacco. In addition, ACY worked towards reducing the proposed budget cuts to orthodontia care through the state’s Medicaid program and Maryland launched an oral health messaging campaign targeting children from birth to six years old.
  • ACY Published Update on Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) published a health 2012 update regarding the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012, which is currently under review with the state legislature. The bill is the outgrowth of 2011 Exchange legislation requiring studies to inform best practices on how the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange should function. ACY was heavily involved in the development of the new legislation, working closely with policy makers and co-chairing one of many advisory committees whose work was incorporated into the Exchange Board's Recommendations and into the legislation. ACY was also involved in specific provisions relating to the navigator program.

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