Maryland's innovative partnership is now a national model.
Ruth Ann Norton has led this successful effort in Baltimore City for many years, and we welcome and honor her today.
Still, our goal should be the elimination of childhood lead poisoning.
Our administration's bill proposes to do just that by adding exterior structures to the lead law; lowering the blood lead level that triggers the requirement for property owners to perform lead hazard reduction treatments; and providing a transition period for purchasers of non-compliant properties to obtain risk reduction certificates.
It's 2005. We've known about this problem for decades. We know how to prevent it. There is no reason for a single child in Maryland to suffer from lead poisoning.
Let's finish the job
I see other opportunities to improve our ability to protect Maryland's children by encouraging a "child first" culture throughout State government.
Our Children's Wraparound Initiative will achieve this goal by bringing better and more efficient service delivery for "at-risk" children and their families.
Two "wraparound" demonstration projects -- one in Baltimore City, the other in Montgomery County -- will link children and families with intensive needs to community-based teams providing flexible treatment and services. The initiative will emphasize meeting the needs of troubled children at home and in local communities, rather than over-reliance on expensive, out-of-home residential care programs that treat the symptoms but rarely the problem.
Under the leadership of Special Secretary Terri Garland, a "children's cabinet" will develop an inter-agency plan and fund. Further, a streamlined review process will ensure that children requiring out-of-home placements are quickly placed in an appropriate setting.
Six different state councils will be consolidated into a single council that will advise the children's cabinet in both developing the state plan and awarding grants from the interagency fund.
In the 21st century, the phrase "public safety" has come to mean two different things. Maryland continues to be a leader in both.
Homeland security is the modern side of public safety in a post-9/11 world. Maryland is fortunate to have a group of experienced professionals working to make our State more secure. Our leadership team includes: Dennis Schrader (Homeland Security);
John Droneburg (MEMA);
Major General Bruce Tuxill (Maryland Military Department);
Colonel Tim Hutchins (Maryland State Police);
Gary McLhinney, (Maryland Transportation Authority Police);
Doug Deleaver (Maryland Transit Administration); and
Colonel Steve Chaney (Department of Natural Resources Police).
Thanks to all of you for making Maryland safer.
One example of Maryland's leadership in the homeland security arena is the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC). The Center encourages information sharing and intelligence analysis among the law enforcement, the National Guard, emergency management, public health, and first responder communities. MCAC is the first joint federal, state and local data collection and analysis center in the country.
Criminal justice is the traditional side of public safety. There are successes to report here as well.
Project CSAFE, our local law enforcement partnership, is established in 51 locations spanning 23 jurisdictions across the State.
Project RESTART, a 2004 initiative to stop the warehousing and recycling of adult offenders, especially drug offenders, has begun level one implementation: training, education, and treatment behind bars. This is an important, long-overdue mission.
Project Diversion, another 2004 initiative, focuses on alternatives to incarceration for addicted, non-violent offenders.
Our reconstituted and expanded State Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council provides an important link between state prevention, intervention, and treatment activities and those of local drug and alcohol councils.
Building on these successes, my public safety priorities for this legislative session include the following.
First, I want to prevent drug and alcohol-related accidents by encouraging young drivers to exercise better judgment and greater responsibility behind the wheel.