100 Community Place, Crownsville, Maryland, July 2016. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The Office strives to ensure a stable, safe and healthful environment for children and families in Maryland. For programs and services affecting children and their families, the Office identifies inefficiencies, duplications, and gaps in services and resources. The Office then analyzes departmental plans and budget requests; reviews federal, State, local and private funds used by and available to the State; and identifies items in the Governor's budget that affect programs and services for children and their families. In addition, the Office issues impact statements and makes planning and expenditure recommendations to the Governor and department heads. The Office also advises the General Assembly on the needs of youth and their families (Code Human Services Article, secs. 8-101 through 8-1004).
Goals for Child Well-being. Eight goals for child well-being have been set for the Office by the Children's Cabinet. They are defined as:
In April 2015, the Governor assigned four initiatives to the Office. The Governor's charge was to reduce the impact of parental incarceration on children, families, and communities; improve outcomes for disconnected youth; reduce childhood hunger; and reduce youth homelessness.
Formerly located at 301 West Preston Street in Baltimore, the Office relocated to 100 Community Place, Crownsville, Maryland, in May 2016.
Appointed by the Governor, the Executive Director chairs the Children's Cabinet and the Advisory Council to the Children's Cabinet, and serves on the Behavioral Health Advisory Council; the State Child Fatality Review Team; the State Early Childhood Advisory Council; the Children's Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council; the Interagency Disabilities Board; the Governor's Family Violence Council; the Task Force to Study the Restraint, Searches, and Needs of Children in the Juvenile Justice System; and the Maryland Commission on Suicide Prevention.
The Office oversees two primary components: Finance and Operations, and Policy.
Finance and Operations is responsible for Children's Cabinet Interagency Fund Administration, and Fiscal and Human Resources.
CHILDREN'S CABINET INTERAGENCY FUND ADMINISTRATION
Children's Cabinet Interagency Fund Administration oversees administration of the Children's Cabinet Fund. The Fund supports the work of local management boards in Maryland counties (Code Human Services Article, secs. 8-501 through 8-507).
Policy is responsible for five main units: Disconnected Youth; Health Policy; Incarceration; Local Management Boards; and Youth Initiatives. The office is aided by the State Coordinating Council for Children.
The Council has developed procedures for local care teams to ensure that children with disabilities in residential placement receive a complete plan of care. With the local care teams, the Council monitors services for children with disabilities who may need or are in residential placement. It also maintains an information system that assures agency accountability to children with disabilities and enables the State to plan for needed services.
Ten members constitute the Council. Seven are ex officio members, two of whom do not vote. Three members are appointed by the Children's Cabinet (Chapter 604, Acts of 2011; Code Human Services Article, secs. 8-401 through 8-404).
LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARDS
Since 1990, each county in Maryland has been required to establish a local management board to plan, implement, and monitor child and family services. Each board determines what services are needed within the parameters of the eight Goals for Child Well-being of the Children's Cabinet. Each board enters into a community partnership agreement with the Governor's Office for Children, which assists with training and technical assistance to develop resources, implement programs, and become fiscally accountable.
Reflecting the interagency nature of services for children and families, each board's membership must include representatives from the local health department, core service (mental health) agency, and department of social services; the local office of the Department of Juvenile Services; and the county public school system. Other members representing public and private community organizations also may serve on a board (Code Human Services Article, secs. 8-301 through 8-305).
Prevention Strategies originated as Positive Youth Outcomes, and reformed under its present name in March 2008.
Prevention Strategies helps plan and implement local programs that prevent youths from dropping out of school, committing crimes, and engaging in other activities which bring them into the juvenile justice system. Such prevention and diversion programs should serve youth in their communities with alternatives to incarceration and institutionalization, help youth gain self sufficiency, accept personal responsibility for their actions, and be ready for adulthood at age 21.
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