Efforts to Protect Maryland's Vulnerable Youth
Hello, I’m Governor Martin O’Malley.
In these challenging times, there is nothing more important to our Administration than protecting our State’s most vulnerable children and their families.
I wanted to take a couple moments to update you on some of our progress.
First let me tell you about some encouraging news about our efforts to expand dental care to more of our low-income children. You may have read about the tragic death of Deamonte Driver, the little boy from Prince George’s County who died when an infection from an untreated toothache spread to his brain. We've taken steps in Maryland to ensure that no child ever dies again for lack of adequate dental care. As we can see, we’ve increased the number of treatments in each quarter of this year.
And this year, we've been able to extend coverage to 38,000 more adults in Maryland. And for the first time in Maryland's history, our state is providing assistance to small businesses that want to provide health care coverage to their employees.
I also wanted to share some encouraging news about our efforts to protect our children’s safety. We are expanding our Operation Safe Kids initiative and our Violence Prevention Initiative to keep violent offenders off our streets and protect our children. We’re increasing funding by 300% for Evidence-Based Practices geared toward at-risk youth. And, we’ve reduced the number of juvenile offenders we send out of State, where the odds of success are lower.
We are now seeing a considerable decrease in youths under state supervision who fall victim to homicide.
Finally, I want to show you the progress we’re making in foster care, where we’re working to reduce out-of-home placements -- and succeeding; achieving a 13% reduction in the last two years. We are also successfully reducing group home placements, achieving a 39% reduction.
These are but a few examples of areas where we are seeing real progress for our most vulnerable children. In our One Maryland, where we are united in our belief in the dignity of every individual, and our conviction that there is no such thing as a spare Marylander, we will continue working together to put our children and families first in these difficult times.