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!

Kids & Families

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  • ACY Updates 2015 Health Priorities

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released their 2015 policy priorities across a number of issue areas. ACY’s health priorities focus on Medicaid dental benefits, better connecting foster youth with Medicaid, and increasing health literacy among vulnerable populations.
  • 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.” 

  • Maryland Partners Say "No!" To Proposed Regulations on CHIP 90 Day Waiting Period

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

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  • ACY Expresses Concern about HHS's Proposal for Pediatric Dental Coverage to be Optional in Plans Offered in the Exchange

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    MD: Leigh Cobbs, Health Policy Director of Advocates for Children and Youth, was quoted in the Baltimore Sun expressing concern about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal that would allow pediatric dental coverage to be offered as an optional service in plans offered through the Exchange. The article notes that, if HHS finalizes this proposal, pediatric dental coverage could be very costly and deter families from purchasing dental plans. 
  • 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.  
  • 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 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.
  • KidsWell Maryland Partners Issued a Press Release in Response to CCFs' report on Children Coverage Trends in the United States

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    MD: Maryland KidsWell Grantees issued a press release in response to the Centers for Children and Families' report on children’s coverage trends in the U.S. highlighting that 3,000 more Maryland children were insured in 2011 compared to 2009.
  • KidsWell Maryland Partners were Highlighted in Articles on State ACA Implementation its Benefits to Residents

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    MD: The Maryland Citizens Health Initiative Education Fund, Inc. and Maryland Advocates for Children and Youth were highlighted in articles focused on state activity around implementing the ACA and how it is benefiting state residents.
  • 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 Director Delivered ACA Lecture

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    Leigh Cobbs, Health Policy Director at Advocates for Children and Youth, delivered a lecture, Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Getting Coverage for Families, Adults and Children in the U.S. and Maryland, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on February 8, 2012.
  • ACY Released Materials Advocating for Children's Dental Benefits Within the Exchange

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released various materials to help with advocacy focusing on dental benefits within the Exchange, update on access to dental care for children in Maryland, and costs of accessing dental care in the Emergency Room. These materials identify the need to provide comprehensive oral health care to children and adults in the Exchange. In addition, ACY published an Issue Brief - "Five Years Later: Dental Access for Children" – that looks at progress against the Dental Action Committee's (DAC) recommendations over five years and finds that while significant progress has been made, challenges still remain to improve oral health access.
  • ACY Helped Maryland Secure Second CHIPRA Performance Bonus

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    With help from children health advocates, Maryland was able to secure its second CHIPRA performance bonus from CMS, according to a press release by Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY). In 2011, Maryland enrolled an additional 41,000 children, and since 2007 the State has seen a 34% overall increase in enrollment. Maryland’s bonus of $28.3 million is the largest of the 23 bonuses awarded by CMS this year.
  • ACY Submitted Comments on HHS' 2011 Essential Health Benefit Bulletin

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    Comments from Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) stressed the importance of: (1) defining a core or “floor” EHB standard for children; (2) providing further guidance and protections for pediatric dental coverage; (3) evaluating additional options for pediatric vision coverage; (4) defining medical necessity; (5) limiting insurer flexibility; and (6) assuring a transparent process for benchmark selection and updating benefits. In addition, ACY developed four guiding principles to establish an EHB. The EHB package must: (1) reflect and support the state’s commitment to a “culture of care” that actively promotes continuity of care and health equity and prohibits discrimination; (2) provide comprehensive benefits that are identified with maximum specificity and are balanced with and among the ten mandated ACA benefit categories; (3) be developed based upon an open and transparent process that is supported by public health and other appropriate expertise, and stakeholder and consumer engagement; and (4) enhance the potential for success of Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange. ACY is actively getting diverse groups to sign on to the Principles and will be sharing with legislators as well as using during the "Stakeholder Consensus Amendment" process for this year's Exchange Bill.

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