With rising violent crime across Maryland, it is more important than ever to take aggressive action to combat root causes of crime. Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can lead to an increased risk of substance use and incarceration, as well as poorer educational, physical, and mental health outcomes. Currently, more than three in five Maryland adults and nearly 40% of children in Maryland have experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). In Baltimore City alone, almost half of all high schoolers live with someone who has been incarcerated. But our past does not have to define our destiny. Studies show that healing from even the most traumatic incidents is possible, and with rising violent crime, substance use, and mental health needs in our communities, Maryland needs a governor who will take action to prevent and heal trauma.
The debilitating effects of trauma on our communities across Maryland have persisted for too long, and we must be intentional in treating trauma and its effects as the crisis it is. As governor, Wes will:
- Empower and fund the Commission on Trauma-Informed Care to develop recommendations, including the funding necessary to create the operational infrastructure and organizational structure needed to implement a statewide trauma-informed care framework and improve data collection on trauma and ACEs.
- Invest in proven community-based violence intervention programs and build strong partnerships with communities and law enforcement to identify individuals at risk of violence, connect them to essential resources and interrupt lethal cycles of violence.
- Reinstate the Governor’s Office for Children and immediately begin working to develop and implement a far-reaching, entire-government, and stakeholder inclusive plan to prevent and address trauma and to make Maryland a Trauma-Informed, Resilient, and Healing-Centered State.
- Improve cradle-to-career supports for children and families by increasing access to affordable child care and family support services, raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2023, extending the Earned Income Tax Credit, and implementing the Time to Care Act.
- Expand access to mental health care by growing the behavioral health workforce, integrating trauma-informed services across the healthcare system, supporting telehealth and mobile care services, and investing in community-based systems of care.
- Tackle substance use by implementing innovative, evidence-based harm reduction programs and dedicating the resources needed to treat this disease, including increasing the funding dedicated to substance use disorder and mental health treatment.
- Ensure a strong start for children by investing in early childhood education, home visiting programs, trauma-informed mental health care in public schools, preschool enrichment, and family engagement, and affordable, high-quality child care.
- Address isolation and expand home and community-based services for seniors by improving access to mental health care and reducing social isolation and increase the number of seniors who can access home and community-based services through Medicaid.