Child advocacy group seeks help for children at all levels


Protecting children is sometimes easier said than done when it comes to the touchy issues of abuse, neglect, medical care and support.

But Maryland's children and their families have the support of Advocates for Children and Youth, a nonprofit organization that works to improve education, health, family support and prevention services for children of all ages.

Amy Blank, a public policy specialist for the 3-year-old advocacy organization, told members of the Carroll County Children's Council at a meeting in Westminster on Wednesday that preventing the problems children face should be dealt with at all levels of the community.

"What we want to do is build up strong councils and the other entities in the community that work with children," Ms. Blank said.

"If we build these networks that feed up to the state level, we can move an agenda along," she said.

TC "It's important that we lobby local elected officials to contact our state officials," she told the council members.

Advocates for Children and Youth works with policy-makers at the federal, state and local government levels to improve the quality of life for children.

"Right now, we are hoping to put together a children's health plan which would service 'gray area children.' These are children who do not have medical insurance," Ms. Blank said.

"We are trying to expand in the Medicaid area and the caring program, which is administered by Blue Cross-Blue Shield."

Improving health care has been a critical issue for the advocacy group because statistics show that 50 percent of Maryland's children are not immunized by age 2.

Ms. Blank invited members of the Carroll Children's Council to attend the Fourth Annual Children's Legislative Agenda Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.

The conference, scheduled for the Legislative Services Building in Annapolis, will enable child advocates from throughout Maryland to discuss such topics as effective communication, lobbying and building advocacy networks.

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