“Every child deserves a safe environment, a supportive family and the opportunity to grow and succeed. That’s why I’m leading our state’s efforts to ensure that all children in Maryland have a safe and loving home. I’ve met hundreds of caring Maryland families who have made the decision to open their hearts and their homes to children in need and it’s in their stories that I’m always reminded of the true warmth, love and compassion that makes us Marylanders.”
Progress: Nothing matters more to a child than having a place to call home. And as an adoptive parent, Anthony understands first-hand the positive impact that a stable and loving home can have on a child. Under Anthony’s leadership as Lieutenant Governor, Maryland made tremendous progress in helping children transition out of foster care and into permanent homes. By using data, focusing our resources, improving relationships with group homes and recruiting hundreds of new foster parents, during Anthony’s term as Lieutenant Governor, Maryland:
- Helped over 13,000 children find permanent places to live since 2007, including over 3,000 adoptions and 10,000 reunifications and guardianships;
- Reduced the number of children in foster care by 41 percent – a 25-year low
- Reduced the number of children residing in group homes by 57 percent;
- Recruited and retained more than 2,000 foster parents; and
- Updated the state’s child support guidelines for the first time in over 20 years.
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown led the State of Maryland on the following initiatives:
Finding a Safe and Loving Home for Every Maryland Child: As Lieutenant Governor, Anthony championed efforts to transition children out of foster care and into permanent homes. To get the word out, Anthony participated in outreach events, bus tours, and more than 119 community gatherings across Maryland to share his personal story, recruit new foster parents, and promote the Place Matters Initiative. When he addresses prospective foster and adoptive families, Anthony makes a simple appeal: “I’m an adoptive father to a wonderful teenage son named Jonathan. I can’t begin to express the joy that he’s brought into our home and I ask that you look into your heart to see if there’s a place in your home for a child who needs your love too.”
- Place Matters Initiative – Anthony promoted the Place Matters Initiative to find permanent families for foster children – many of whom have been victims of abuse or neglect. Research demonstrates that children who grow up with permanent families are more likely to succeed later in life. Place Matters is focused on four primary objectives: 1) Whenever it is safe, keep a child with his or her family for as long as possible; 2) Shorten the amount of time which children spend in foster care; 3) When circumstances permit, keep a child in, or as close to, his or her original community; and 4) If and when foster care is the only option, place a child in a safe environment.
- Ready By 21 Initiative –Ready By 21 is an initiative led by Anthony aimed at the nearly 4,000 Maryland foster children, aged 14 or above, who not only need loving homes, but must begin to prepare for adulthood. Research has shown that after the age of 21, foster children often struggle to secure a job, obtain or continue their education, stay healthy and find housing. Maryland’s initiative seeks to provide children with complete wrap-around services so that they can become successful members of our communities. By leading this effort, Anthony worked to make Maryland a leader in foster care and ensured that our children have the resources they need to succeed.
Protecting our Children by Eliminating Child Neglect: In 2011, Anthony led the effort to pass a law making child neglect a crime in Maryland - punishable by up to five years in prison. Previously, Maryland had a neglect statute for vulnerable adults and animals, but it was the only state in the nation that did not criminalize child neglect. While our primary goal remains to prevent neglect through education, better parenting and social service intervention, there are a small number of cases where the neglect is truly egregious. In these cases, civil penalties and education are simply not enough and, as a result of Anthony’s work, we have the tools necessary to prosecute parents and guardians who commit this heinous act.