In 1978, the Governor's Office for Children began as the Office for Children and Youth (Chapter 426, Acts of 1978). It reorganized as the Office for Children, Youth, and Families in 1990 (Chapter 419, Acts of 1990). From January 1997 to July 2003, the Office functioned under the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. In June 2005, it was restructured as the Governor's Office for Children (Executive Order 01.01.2005.34).

State and local government agencies and organizations are helped by the Governor's Office for Children to assist young people effectively and economically. To provide care through early intervention, prevention, and community services, priority is given to children and families most vulnerable to abuse, neglect, substance abuse, failure at school, family disintegration, and other problems. In meeting such needs, advice on local resources and priorities comes to the Office from child advocacy groups and parents. The Office also informs families and the general public about programs and services for youth.

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 8-1003).

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.

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 the Children's Cabinet has set for child well-being in Maryland. 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 must include representatives from the local health department; the local office of the Department of Juvenile Services; the core service (mental health) agency; the county public school system; and the local department of social services. Other members representing public and private community organizations also may serve on a board.

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 State Child Fatality Review Team; the Children's Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council; the Interagency Disabilities Board; the Maryland State Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council; the Governor's Family Violence Council; the Governor's Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Maryland Commission on Suicide Prevention.

The Office oversees two primary components: Finance and Operations, and Policy.


Under its present name, Finance and Operations was initiated in January 2000. It reorganized in 2003 as Operations, and became responsible for Budget Administration, Human Resources, Procurement, and Subcabinet Fund Administration. When Operations disbanded in June 2005, the Fiscal Office was created to assume its financial responsibilities. In June 2006, the Office reverted to its original name.

Finance and Operations is responsible for Children's Cabinet Interagency Fund Administration, and Fiscal and Human Resources.

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 Resources Article, secs. 8-501 through 8-506).



Policy formed in January 2000 as Policy and Planning. It became Policies, Initiatives, and Councils in 2003, and reorganized as Interagency Policy Development in October 2004. In June 2006, it reformed as Programs and Policy to oversee Local Management Boards Monitoring; Local Management Boards Technical Assistance; Prevention Strategies; and Research and Evaluation. In August 2007, Community Resource Development was added. In July 2009, the office was renamed Interagency Initiatives, and in June 2015 adopted its present name.

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.

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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