Advocates for Children and Youth

Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) was founded in 1987 by a group of prominent child advocates in Maryland who saw the need for an independent organization to advocate for the needs of the state's children and families in the community, the media and the public policy arena. Since its founding, ACY’s mission has been to identify problems, promote policies and programs that improve results for Maryland children in measurable and meaningful ways, and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies for the state's children and youth. Its goals include ensuring that children have access to affordable, quality health care coverage in Maryland. See below for more information about ACY’s recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!

  • ACY Updates 2015 Health Priorities

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released their 2015 policy priorities across a number of issue areas. ACY’s health priorities focus on Medicaid dental benefits, better connecting foster youth with Medicaid, and increasing health literacy among vulnerable populations.
  • ACY Highlights Health Care Needs of Former Foster Care Youth

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    MD:  Advocates for Children & Youth (ACY) released an issue brief about the health care needs of former foster care youth.  As part of its efforts to educate former foster care youth about Medicaid coverage available to them under the ACA, ACY partnered with community organizations to: conduct “train the trainer” sessions for social workers and other providers; developed quick-reference information cards for providers and young adults; and developed a song promoting health coverage for former foster youth. 

  • ACY Advocates for Protecting Pediatric Dental Benefits

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth submitted a letter of information to the Maryland Senate Finance Committee advocating for robust pediatric dental benefits in the Qualified Health Plans offered through the Exchange. The letter identified critical consumer protections applicable to pediatric dental benefits including: the prohibition against exclusions for pre-existing conditions, rescission, and provision of guaranteed rates; the right to appeal; no cost-sharing for routine and preventive care; and availability of linguistically accessible “Summary of Dental Plan Benefits.” 

  • ACY Responds to Exchange Open Enrollment Kick-Off!!

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) posted an interactive presentation depicting a series of scenarios that provide insight on what new health care options are available and to whom. ACY also published a detailed guide that provides more detail on each scenario.
  • KidsWell NY, CA, & CCF Held Webinar on ACA Extension of Medicaid Coverage for Foster Care Kids

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    NY, CA, & CCF : KidsWell New York and KidsWell California, in collaboration with the Georgetown Center for Children and Families (CCF), held a state partner webinar to provide an overview of the ACA provision that will extend Medicaid coverage to foster children up to 26 years of age. In addition, the webinar discussed how to develop messaging and outreach strategies for state advocates and agencies to help enroll foster children into coverage. The webinar featured Tricia Brooks of CCF, Brooke Lehamn of Childworks, Bridget Walsh of Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA), and Leigh Cobbs of Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY). Additionally, Children Now released a one-pager outlining the current statues in place limiting Medicaid coverage to California foster children and potential solutions. 
  • Maryland Partners Say "No!" To Proposed Regulations on CHIP 90 Day Waiting Period

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  • It's a Wrap! ACY Released 2013 Legislative Wrap-Up Highlighting Major Wins for Children!

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  • ACY Expresses Concern about HHS's Proposal for Pediatric Dental Coverage to be Optional in Plans Offered in the Exchange

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    MD: Leigh Cobbs, Health Policy Director of Advocates for Children and Youth, was quoted in the Baltimore Sun expressing concern about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal that would allow pediatric dental coverage to be offered as an optional service in plans offered through the Exchange. The article notes that, if HHS finalizes this proposal, pediatric dental coverage could be very costly and deter families from purchasing dental plans. 
  • ACA Anniversary Celebration! KidsWell Advocates Blogged to Celebrate the ACA's 3rd Anniversary!

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    MomsRising, CA, MD, NY, TX: MomsRising, Children’s Defense Fund –CA, Children’s Defense Fund – NY, Health Care For All New YorkAdvocates for Children and Youth , and Texas Well and Health, published blog posts in celebration of the Affordable Care Act’s third anniversary. The advocates note that the ACA has and will continue to help Americans access affordable, quality health care.
  • ACY Released March 2013 Legislative Hearing Schedule

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    MD: In an effort to update individuals on legislative bills focusing on children’s rights, Advocates for Children and Youth released a list of legislative hearings that will be held in March. The list also provides a brief description of each bill and the respective committee reviewing each bill.
  • Want to Know What’s Going on in Maryland? ACY Released an Update on the State's Legislative Activity on Exchange Development

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) published a webpage providing updates on their 2013 legislative activity, including supporting the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 (SB 274/HB 208) which would expand the Medicaid program and continue to implement the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. In addition, ACY submitted proposed amendments to SB 274/HB 208 to strengthen the bill on former foster care children, continuity of care for serious pediatric dental conditions, twelve-month continuous enrollment, and developing a standing committee for on-going stakeholder participation.  
  • ACY to Maryland Exchange: Say Yes to Consumer Protections!

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) submitted comments to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) on producer appointments and their proposal to use application counselors as “in-house” brokers through the carriers. ACY argues that the two issues are linked and are concerned with the involvement of the carriers in the selection of a qualified health plan.
  • Temper the Transition! ACY Published Legislative Priorities to Ensure Continuity of Care for Children and Families who Transition Between the Exchange and State Coverage Options

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth published their 2013 Health Legislative Priorities list which includes information on proposed work and its potential impact in the state. Included in the list is ACY’s plan to work to ensure that the State-Based Exchange is adequately funded and to develop legislation/regulations on continuity of care policies for children and families who transition between the Exchange and state coverage options.
  • ACY and First Focus Published an Op-ed on How the Fiscal Cliff May Impact Children

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    Rebecca Wagner, Executive Director of ACY, and Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children, published an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun discussing how the fiscal cliff could hurt child welfare. 
  • ACY Held a Tweet-a-thon on Deficit Reduction

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) held a tweet-a-thon to federal policy makers on December 10th to encourage them to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
  • ACY Published Questions to Kick Start Discussions on Children's Coverage with the Presidential Candidates

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    MD: Advocates for Children & Youth published seven questions to help kick start discussions on children’s coverage with candidates during the 2012 federal election. ACY also released a list of how sequestration of the federal budget will affect Maryland children.
  • KidsWell Maryland Partners Issued a Press Release in Response to CCFs' report on Children Coverage Trends in the United States

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    MD: Maryland KidsWell Grantees issued a press release in response to the Centers for Children and Families' report on children’s coverage trends in the U.S. highlighting that 3,000 more Maryland children were insured in 2011 compared to 2009.
  • KidsWell Maryland Partners were Highlighted in Articles on State ACA Implementation its Benefits to Residents

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    MD: The Maryland Citizens Health Initiative Education Fund, Inc. and Maryland Advocates for Children and Youth were highlighted in articles focused on state activity around implementing the ACA and how it is benefiting state residents.
  • ACY Released an Informational Guide for Advocates on the State-Based Exchange

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released an advocates’ guide on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. The guide provides background on components of the state-based Exchange including: (1) background on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012; (2) Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) that will facilitate the sale of health insurance through the Exchange; (3) dental and vision plans; (4) market rules for insurers; (5) the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP); (6) the Individual Exchange market; (7) Navigator Programs that will support outreach and consumer assistance; (8) risk adjustment and reinsurance programs; (9) the fraud, waste and abuse detection and prevention program; and (10) Exchange financing. The guide briefly discusses the future of health care reform in Maryland, stating that Marylanders should be proud of the state's progress and accomplishments to date.
  • Advocates for Children and Youth Applauded SCOTUS ACA Ruling

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    Advocates for Children and Youth issued a press release applauding the decision and outlining the key benefits children and families have and will receive through the ACA. The press release highlights that the decision will help facilitate the continued improvement of Maryland’s healthcare system, especially in regards to their continued efforts to develop a state-based Exchange. 

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