Committee: House Health & Government Operations Committee
The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.
House Bill 520 provides $5 million in annual funding for the Maryland Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant, tasked with providing grant money to counties and municipalities to use in the assistance of low-income pregnant and postpartum women and children from birth to age three.
The Catholic Church has a strong interest in eliminating poverty and providing supports for women as they move through pregnancy and raise young children. Mothers are the foundations of families when they bring life into this world. Low-income mothers and families who face the struggles of poverty are particularly vulnerable, and the Church has a priority in protecting women in this position.
Providing funding for services that assist low-income women and young children who are likely to be more vulnerable should be an important priority for state and local governments. Low-income women who might not otherwise be able to afford pre- and post-natal care could potentially face adverse health effects, and raising an infant and young child after results in compounding issues. Looking into the future, those children may face difficulties as they enter their school years and beyond, in addition to any difficulties they already may be up against growing up in a low-income environment. The Conference supports legislation such as this that provides any funding aimed to prevent hardships for low-income mothers and young children.
The Conference appreciates your consideration and, for these reasons, respectfully requests a favorable report on House Bill 520.