2023 Legislative Session Underway

The 2023 legislative session is off to a great start. The Center for Hope advocacy team continues to monitor and weigh in on legislation concerning domestic violence, elder abuse and community violence, and will continue to update our community. 

Here are our top legislative priorities:

  • Impact of Violence on Healthcare – On January 24, Center for Hope’s Freedom Jones is joined LifeBridge Health’s VP of Government affairs, the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, and the Maryland Violence Prevention Coalition to brief members of the Public Health and Minority Health Disparities subcommittee of the Health Government and Operations Committee on the cost of and impact of interpersonal violence on health care systems, and discuss our integrated community/hospital approach to preventing and treating violence.
  • Victim Services Stabilization Act – SB148/HB186 Sponsored by Senator Guzzone and Delegate Barnes, this bill would help 118 agencies statewide receive critical federal VOCA funds. The agencies range from local non-profit child advocacy centers, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis response, human trafficking task forces, as well as police stations, local county services, the University of Maryland, and statewide efforts, to name a few. 75% of funds help children, 11% help elderly, 10% help the LGBQT community, 45% target domestic violence, 51% towards sexual assault, and 27% to stop trafficking of persons. Every county in the state receives funds to help victims and survivors. 
  • Conflict Management Training in Middle Schools – Our Safe Streets and school partners know that conflict management skills help prevent violence. Many adults who receive conflict management training say “I wish I’d had this earlier.” We are working on regulatory action with Senator Mary Washington, our local Baltimore Collegiate Schools for Boys and other partners across the state who work on restorative practices, conflict resolution, and school initiatives to make sure Maryland’s middle school students receive consistent training and practice in collaborative problem-solving. We are also supporting HB119, sponsored by longtime child and family champion Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, which would require Maryland public schools to implement the MSDE’s new Comprehensive Health Education Curriculum Guidelines. Released this summer, the Guidelines include a Public Safety component on conflict resolution, as well as information on healthy relationships, human trafficking, and consent.
  • Gun Safety Laws – Center for Hope recognizes that gun violence is the leading cause of death for young people in Maryland, and across the nation. Most of those deaths are homicides, some are suicides, but all are preventable. Guns also injure young people in disproportionate numbers. The majority of guns used by young people — especially in school shootings — come from the home of a family member or relative. Center for Hope supports this session’s efforts by Senator Will Smith and Delegate Sandy Bartlett to improve Maryland’s Child Access Protection (CAP) law.
  • Child Protection – Center for Hope supports a number of initiatives that will help protect children from abuse and exploitation, such as Delegate CT Wilson’s Statute of Limitations Bill, HB01, which will remove the barrier for sexual abuse survivors filing claims against the people who harmed them and the institutions who allowed it. Center for Hope will also support SB21, sponsored by Senator Chris West, Person in a Position of Authority – Sexual Offenses With a Minor, which includes authority figures at day care, coaches, camps, religious institutions, etc., who may be held accountable for violating children. 

Safe Streets Expands Partnership

In early January, Center for Hope onboarded two new Safe Streets sites – Franklin Square (located by Grace Medical Center in West Baltimore) and Park Heights (located near Sinai Hospital in northwest Baltimore). This was part of a bigger plan by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) to “re-home” Safe Street sites as part of its investment into Baltimore’s Community Violence Intervention (CVI) ecosystem which aligns with national best practices.

With these new acquisitions, Center for Hope will now be operating six of the 10 existing Safe Streets sites. The Franklin Square site is in close proximity to Grace Medical Center and builds on the close working relationship between the hospital and Safe Streets sites.  

The benefits of Safe Streets sites in the communities where they reside are tangible – they help insulate the community where they are located and curb community violence which is cited in community health needs assessments as a top community concern. Safe Streets workers are community violence interrupters and work to respond to one of the community’s top health concerns which has been violence. 

LifeBridge Health is proud to leverage its community health approach and have these new brave men and women as a part of our health system – we will be employing 60 people from these communities, offering good healthcare system jobs and training. This expanded partnership will bring the Safe Streets public health model closer to a hospital system, make Center for Hope’s comprehensive violence prevention and intervention services more accessible, and bring enhanced organization to the Safe Streets model.

2022 Holiday Toy Drive

The 2022 holiday season was brighter for many Baltimore families thanks to Advisory Council member and Center For Hope advocate Mandee Heinl. For a three straight years, Mandee and her team of generous heroes have sponsored more than 100 Center For Hope families including 417 children and 155 adults. 

This was the biggest holiday collection campaign to date and we are so grateful for the time, effort and energy it took to make this holiday initiative happen.  

Be A Hero in 2023

We are excited to announce that Center For Hope’s Be A Hero event is back for 2023 and sponsorship opportunities are now available!

On Saturday, April 29, 2023 supporters and friends of Center for Hope will gather at Union Craft Brewery, 1700 West 41st Street in Baltimore for a reimagined event that includes an evening of music, cocktails and dinner to celebrate the violence intervention and prevention programs at LifeBridge Health’s Center for Hope. The evening will begin with cocktails, dinner and music from a Baltimore-based band. Then the main event takes the stage – an intimate musical performance from an award-winning internationally recognized headline group! The evening will conclude with live and silent auctions and a fund the mission moment.

This is going to be one of the years most talked about events of the year and a great opportunity for your business to reach a captive audience. For more information about sponsorship, tables and tickets, contact Hilary Corley, CFRE, Director of Philanthropy, Violence Prevention Programs, at 410-469-4701 or 215-300-2618.

Urban Forum a Success

In October, leaders from children’s advocacy centers across the nation gathered for the 10th Annual Urban Forum at LifeBridge Health’s Jill Fox Center for Hope. Adam Rosenberg and the Center For Hope team hosted more than two dozen professionals who gathered here in Baltimore to learn and collaborate to address their unique challenges. The group met to discuss a wide range of issues that impact child advocacy centers in larger cities such as gun violence; diversity, equity and inclusion; innovative practices for an urban environment; succession planning and what’s next for urban child advocacy centers. In addition to working hard for two days, they were able to get out and see a little bit of our wonderful city, too. By all accounts it was a very successful event!

Donor Profile: Roland Harvey

Roland Harvey, owner of Natural Concerns Landscaping, is a supporter of Center for Hope and many other nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore area. Roland’s interest in helping others and making Baltimore a better place for all of those who live here is evident in his devotion to giving back. Check out our interview with Roland below.

How did you find out about Center for Hope?

Roland: My foundation, Arbor Dog, was working with the Behavioral Health Unit at Northwest Hospital. During a conversation with LifeBridge Health Corporate Development staff, Center for Hope was brought up. I met with Corporate Development staff at the old Center for Hope location at 23rd and Charles.

Why did Center for Hope speak to you as an important cause to support?

Roland: Helping people who have been abused or hurt or faced trauma, helping people recover from their trauma is inspiring. After Corporate Development staff told me about the new building, I had a hard hat tour with my son. I was blown away. Then I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and was inspired by all the work of Center for Hope. It’s a great organization. The people I have met here are amazing.

What is the mission of Arbor Dog?

Roland: I started Arbor Dog Foundation about seven years ago. At the time, I could have chosen to use the money differently, but I decided that I wanted to really impact Baltimore in positive ways. We came up with our three E’s: Employment Opportunities, Educational Opportunities and Environmental Improvements. I’m inspired every day to do more. I meet great people doing this work. One of the first people, I approached is a good friend of mine. She and her husband are very supportive of many organizations in the Greater Baltimore community. I went to her for advice and guidance, and I still do. Giving and meeting people never stops inspiring me to do more for Baltimore.

I am in the landscaping business and have been for 40 years. Landscaping has certainly helped the environment over the years. As our company shirts say, “we plant oxygen.” Over the next few years, I want to shift my focus to doing more for Baltimore in addition to the environment.

What should others know about giving back?

Roland: It makes you feel great. It opens up a whole new doorway of gratitude. Some people may look at the bad experiences of others and say, “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me.” Others like myself, I am so grateful to be a part of the solution and give back. I wake up grateful, I go to bed grateful. Its people like Center for Hope staff who inspire me to keep giving back.

Thank You for the Gift of Hope!

We want to take a moment to thank all of our very generous Center for Hope donors who have given the gift of hope this past year. We would not be in the new Jill Fox Center for Hope building and we would not be able to offer the multitude of comprehensive violence intervention and prevention programs without your support. Thank you for believing in the work that we do – your gift makes a big difference in the lives of those in our community impacted by violence, trauma and abuse. Wishing everyone a happy holiday season and a joyful 2023!

LifeBridge Health Welcomes The Family Tree

Photo L-R: Pat Cronin, executive director, The Family Tree; Neil Meltzer, president and CEO, LifeBridge Health; Tom Peltier, board president, The Family Tree; Brian Moffet, board president, LifeBridge Health; Mary Francioli, director of development, The Family Tree; Adam Rosenberg, executive director of Center for Hope and vice president for Violence Prevention and Intervention, LifeBridge Health

LifeBridge Health is proud to announce that effective December 31, 2022, The Family Tree will become an affiliate of LifeBridge Health and work in coordination with the health system’s Center for Hope. The Family Tree is a 50-year-old nationally recognized leader in child abuse prevention and will work with our Center for Hope child advocacy center to support informed professional practice, deploy effective prevention and intervention strategies that break the patterns of violence and support families and child well-being throughout LifeBridge Health practices and across the life cycle.

Adam Rosenberg, LifeBridge Health’s vice president for Violence Prevention and Intervention will continue to be executive director of Center for Hope and will also supervise the Executive Director and program at The Family Tree. Mr. Rosenberg remarks “The Family Tree and LifeBridge Health’s Center for Hope together provides a full spectrum of services from training community and professionals, to providing child abuse prevention programs that build strong families, responding when abuse occurs, healing from trauma, and working throughout adulthood and community. We look forward to working with The Family Tree in this vital mission to support children and families.” 

“LifeBridge Health and The Family Tree share a mission to care for families in our community, so having this team join our organization is a natural fit,” says Neil Meltzer, president and CEO of LifeBridge Health. “Together with Center for Hope, we will use one cohesive voice to prevent child maltreatment.”

“We are excited to join the LifeBridge Health family and complement Center for Hope’s nationally accredited child advocacy center. The Family Tree becomes a sister organization to LifeBridge Health’s Center for Hope which advances hope, healing and resilience for those impacted by trauma, abuse and violence. With our combined talent, we will create a Center of Excellence, a multi-disciplinary approach to support informed professional practice, deploy effective prevention and intervention strategies that break the patterns of violence, and support families and children well-being across the life cycle,” says Patricia Cronin, executive director of The Family Tree for over 20 years.

The Family Tree will remain at its current location on Charles Street in Baltimore and continue its co-location of services in Prince George’s County. The Family Tree will retain 501(c)(3) status and maintain its important work as a leader in preventing child abuse and building strong families. Pat Cronin will remain as executive director of The Family Tree to ensure a smooth transition.

Dr. Wendy Lane Honored with AAP Award

Center for Hope applauds our very own Dr. Wendy Lane who was recently honored with an American Academy of Pediatrics Award from the Academy’s Council on Child Abuse and Neglect. Dr. Lane was recognized for her work with maltreated children. Dr. Lane is the medical director and board-certified general and child abuse pediatrician at Center for Hope and she received this award at the annual AAP National Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim, CA in early October.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Lane as medical director and a close advisor working tirelessly advocating for the children and families who come to Center for Hope searching for a path of healing,” said Adam Rosenberg, LifeBridge Health vice president of Violence Intervention and Prevention and executive director of Center for Hope. “I am grateful that the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes Dr. Lane’s years of dedication and service. This honor is another reminder that our team at Center for Hope is comprised of the best of the best, all working on behalf of the most vulnerable in our community.”

Dr. Lane has worked at Center for Hope for the past seven years. She also oversees Maryland CHAMP (Child Abuse Medical Professionals), an initiative of the Maryland Department of Health. CHAMP faculty provide training and peer review to physicians and nurses around the state who conduct medical evaluations for children with suspected abuse. They also develop policies and guidelines for access to medical care and treatment, and partner closely with Child Protective Services (CPS), Child Advocacy Centers, law enforcement, state’s attorney’s offices, pediatricians and other professionals who encounter child maltreatment. Dr. Lane also serves as the Chair of the State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (SCCAN), which makes recommendations to the governor, legislature, and state agencies to prevent child maltreatment and to ensure the well-being of children and families involved with the child welfare system. Over the past several years, SCCAN has worked to pass legislation to hire a Medical Director of Child Welfare at the Maryland Department of Human Services and to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse in schools.

Congrats Dr. Lane!

Race for Our Kids A Huge Success

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, more than 1,000 runners, walkers and LifeBridge Health supporters participated in The Robert I. Damie Race for Our Kids at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Despite the soggy weather, the turnout was fantastic and more importantly the race raised $176,074 to benefit Center for Hope, the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai and the Save-A-Limb Fund. We are so grateful to everyone who came out and helped to make this event a huge success. Thank you!