The Maryland Children’s Alliance works to assure that voices of child advocacy centers and the children we serve are represented in Annapolis.
This 2010 legislative session, MCA’s priority bills are:
HB1043/SB796 – Child Advocacy Centers
MCA is very excited about these bills to give structural support to Child Advocacy Centers. This legislation would provide a small amount of funding to CACs by tapping unspent reserves under the victims of crime fund, and would establish CACs in statute. Creating statutory support for CACs would help assure that these important programs continue and that jurisdictions without CACs establish them. Of the over 70 sexual offense bills introduced this session, the CAC bill is one of only two or three that will help improve conviction rates and the only bill that directly responds to child sexual abuse victims.
Delegate Norman Conway and Senator Mac Middleton, lead sponsors.
SB757/HB962 – Criminal Child Neglect
Maryland is the only state in the country without a criminal child neglect law. Together with a committed group of child abuse prosecutors, MCA is leading efforts to pass legislation making child neglect a crime. This bill has been carefully crafted to exclude cases where neglect is a result of poverty or an isolated accident – these cases would still be addressed by the child protective services, but not categorized as a crime. The criminal child neglect bills are supported by the Maryland State’s Attorneys Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the Maryland Emergency Nurses Association, the Montgomery Emergency Physicians, and others.
Delegates Galen Clagett and Kathleen Dumais, and Senator Nancy King, lead sponsors.
HB473/SB280 – Lifetime Supervision for Sex Offenders
The Governor has proposed this legislation to help Maryland contain and monitor convicted sex offenders. If enacted, these bills will give courts the ability to impose a range of special conditions on sex offenders to address the particular predilections and threats posed by an individual offender. Conditions range from GPS monitoring to treatment to restrictions on drug and alcohol use. Supervision would be imposed for life unless an offender could prove that he or she no longer poses an unacceptable risk to community safety. This bill would significantly improve the State’s ability to respond to known sex offenders living in the community.
HB931/SB856 – Sexual Offender Advisory Board
These bills would add a seat for a representative from a child advocacy center (CAC) with recognized expertise in sexual abuse and victimization to the State’s Sexual Offender Advisory Board. MCA appreciates recognition of the importance of CACs to the Board’s efforts. This bill was introduced by the O’Malley Administration.