2019-2020 Legislative Advocacy

 

CLM Priority Legislation

Massachusetts’ two-year legislative 2019- 2020 session features several legislative priorities for the Children’s League of Massachusetts. Chief among these priorities are:

Continuous Health Care Coverage for Kids who have Aged Out of DCF 

This bill will codify the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows youth who have aged out of DCF to receive MassHealth benefits until they turn 26. Additionally, it will require that these youths are automatically enrolled annually until no longer eligible.

For more information about this bill, click here to download CLM’s fact sheet.

Sibling Adoption Bill

Siblings in Massachusetts are prohibited from adopting their siblings, even in situations where a much older sibling is independent, stable and can financially support the child. Currently, siblings can obtain guardianship of their younger siblings, but guardianships only provide temporary caregiving support, while adoptions are permanent.

For more information about this bill, click here to download CLM’s fact sheet. 

 

CLM Endorsed Legislation

CLM works in coalition with other advocacy groups to accomplish our legislative agenda. CLM has endorsed the following bills for this session:

An Act Granting Equal Access to Original Birth Certificates to All Persons Born in Massachusetts

Current Massachusetts law denies adopted persons born in Massachusetts between July 17, 1974 and January 1, 2008 access to their original birth certificates. This bill, put forth by Access Massachusetts, would allow all adopted persons equal access to their original birth certificates.

View the full bill here.

For more information, check out Access Massachusetts’ fact sheet here.

An Act Relative to Abusive Practices to Change Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Minors (“Conversion Therapy Ban”)

This bill will ban deceptive conversion practices that can lead to depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, and suicidality. This bill was put forth by the Conversion Therapy Ban Coalition, of which CLM is a member. 

View the full bill here.

For more information, check out GLAD‘s fact Sheet here

An Act to End Child Marriage in Massachusetts

The bill would forbid anyone under age 18 from getting married in Massachusetts. Currently, someone under 18 can get married with approval from a parent and a judge. The law doesn’t specify a minimum age, leaving that to the discretion of a judge. This bill is sponsored by a coalition organized by Representative Kay Khan & Senator Harriette Chandler. 

View the full bill here.

For more information, check out the Tahirih Justice Center‘s page on child marriage here.

An Act Relative to Fair Pay for Comparable Work

This bill would set a schedule to fully eliminate the pay disparity between state workers and those employed by private, community-based human services nonprofits who are doing similar work. The bill would seek to eliminate the pay disparity no later than July 1, 2023, and it would authorize reports from the administration on the current pay disparity between workers and new strategies to recruit and retain human services workers at community-based nonprofits. This bill was put forth by the Provider’s Council, of which CLM is a member. 

View the full bill here

For more information, check out the Provider’s Council‘s page on this bill here or read their fact sheet here.  

Foster Care Review Office Bill

In Massachusetts, foster care review is housed in The Department of Children and Families (DCF), it is an internal DCF department. This structure creates challenges and potential conflicts of interest for ensuring a robust and independent review with transparency, accountability, oversight and real authority to enforce findings and recommendations. This bill, by The Children’s Union (the policy arm of Friends of Children), will  create an independent review process that addresses these challenges both at the individual case level and at the systems level.

View the full bill here.

For more information, check out The Children’s Union‘s fact page here

An Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families

This bill will establish a fee waiver process for youth and adults experiencing homelessness. It will create a process for individuals experiencing homelessness to apply for IDs if they cannot meet the existing criteria, such as alternative proof of Massachusetts residency that does not require a permanent address (looking to documents already accepted by other Massachusetts state agencies). This bill stems from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. 

View the full bill here.

For more information, check out the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless‘ fact page here.

An Act Relative to Foster Parent Rights

This bill ensures that foster parents will be treated with dignity and respect, not be discriminated against based on the basis of their gender, religion, race or color and be provided appropriate training and support. The bill also creates a Task Force to handle complaints against foster parents.  This bill is by the Foster Parent Rights – a coalition organized by Rep. Tricia Farley- Bouvier in concert with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

 

If you would like more information about CLM’s legislative advocacy or to request CLM prioritize or endorse legislation, please contact Public Policy Director Kathryn Cohen at kathryn@childrensleague.org.