ANNAPOLIS -- There are the stories and the tears. Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer crying after a visit with crack-affected babies. Schaefer falling into a funk after manning a phone bank and randomly calling a teenager too depressed to go to school. Schaefer remembering a good friend struggling with a disabled child.

Since taking office four years ago, Schaefer has vowed to make Maryland a showcase for America without forgetting those in need. He has led the cry for more help for the poor, the disabled, the elderly and children.

But some advocates from across the state, while applauding the governor's sincerity, say Schaefer's concern has not resulted in enough meaningful initiatives or spending to make a dent in the need.

Activists and legislators point out that Maryland is the fifth wealthiest state in the nation, yet has the eighth highest infant mortality rate and the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the country. There are thousands of developmentally CAMPAIGN '90 CANDIDATES IN MARYLAND disabled adults who get no state services, children who languish in mental hospitals because there are no community programs to take them and thousands of women and infants without proper nutrition because the state does not supplement a federal food program.

"His personal feelings for poor people, the disabled and so on are real and sincere," said Arnie Graf, a full-time community organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation who has done work in Baltimore and Prince George's County. "But that doesn't always translate into effective public policy."

Another criticism is Schaefer's propensity to govern by proclamation, or to substitute high-profile news conferences and publicity events for detailed initiatives.

Schaefer, 68, argues that in each of his four years in office he has made substantial increases in aid to the developmentally disabled, in health care and for children and infants, including creation of a separate Office on Children, Youth and Families.

In some areas where the governor has poured money into existing programs, the need has outstripped government support, Schaefer defenders said. For example, the number of families on Aid to Families with Dependent Children grew by 7 percent statewide last year -- and by as much as 20 percent in some jurisdictions -- despite expansion of a welfare-to-work program that took 13,000 people off assistance programs during that period.

"I have no apologies. We've certainly done more" than previous administrations, Schaefer said after a recent ceremony in Annapolis to install a new "Kinder-Cabinet" of first- to fifth-grade children. "There weren't any programs like this, no emphasis on children.

"You never can make everyone happy," Schaefer said. "Take a look at the budget to see how much extra money we put in for the developmentally disabled, the handicapped and the elderly. It's just disturbing. We put money in medical care for the homeless, help with food banks, soup kitchens. People always look for something. It's impossible to do everything."

But activists maintain that during a time when the state was flush with money, at one point having a $350 million surplus, Schaefer did not use that opportunity to do enough. The legislature, which balked at even the slightest suggestion that a part of that surplus be used to fund social projects, must share some of the blame, they said. Now, the advocates worry that with the state deficit hovering around $200 million, any chance of getting additional money for social programs will be lost in budget cutting.

Spending for health and human services increased during Schaefer's tenure, with the Health Department's budget rising more than $500 million, to $2.1 billion during the current fiscal year. The Department of Human Resources' budget, which includes the Department of Social Services, went from $676 million in fiscal year 1988 to $859 million this year.

Yet critics said spending on human resources did not grow as a percentage of the $11 billion budget, and money for the health department increased by 1 percent.

During that time, the critics said, Schaefer clashed with mental health advocates by insisting parents of the disabled pay fees of as much as 15 percent of their gross income to match state payments; attracted national attention by attempting to cancel contracts of legal aid groups that had sued the state over services for children in foster care and mental institutions; and declined to provide money to supplement the federal Women, Infants and Children program to allow more than 48,000 women and children onto the rolls.

Lynda Meade, executive director of the statewide advocacy group Maryland Alliance for the Poor, said there has been some progress in areas such as health care for the homeless and medical assistance for a greater number of women and children, but that poverty issues overall took a back seat to building projects, transportation and the environment. In the last two budgets, the alliance lobbied the governor to spend $60 million each year on anti-poverty programs. Those programs got a total of $17 million in fiscal 1990 and $8 million in fiscal 1991.

"I think that while he has chosen to write a few checks for poverty issues, we would like to see the issues of poverty have a higher priority," Meade said.

Schaefer aides, and even some legislators who have been at odds with the governor on money for social programs, defended his spending priorities. And budget analysts have concluded recently that if Schaefer had used the surplus to fund ongoing social programs, the deficit would be twice the projected $200 million.

"When the economy was expanding, {Schaefer} didn't say spend at the level that many of the advocates said, but he expanded" services, said Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings (D-Baltimore), who is chairman of the House subcommittee on health and the environment.

"Everywhere you go, you can meet an interest group or advocacy group who say not enough is being done," said Schaefer spokesman Paul E. Schurick. "The governor's done a damn fine job -- social and people problems in general."

But some activists disagree. One example that many point to is Schaefer's record on children's issues. In January, Schaefer broke down and cried as he told of his visit to drug-affected babies in a hospital, and announced 1990 as the "Year of the Infant." With characteristic Schaefer showmanship, the governor made the announcement at a "baby shower" held in his honor.

Advocates for children said the Year of the Infant is one more instance of Schaefer trying to govern by proclamation, holding well-orchestrated news conferences but not backing them with money to implement ideas.

"In the year of the infant, the infant has not done that well," said Susan P. Leviton, board president of Advocates for Children and Youth, a Maryland organization.

Activists who work on children's issues said one positive development during Schaefer's tenure was the creation of the Office of Children, Youth and Families in 1988 and the naming of Nancy S. Grasmick as special secretary. They said Grasmick has helped to coordinate services provided by the human resources, health, education and juvenile services departments.

For her part, Grasmick said the advocates are attempting to prod the state "beyond what is reasonable at any given time." She points to a new initiative unveiled last month to decrease the number of children placed in foster homes or out-of-state institutions by providing new services to preserve the family.

There have been increases in the number of group home beds for children who need to be removed temporarily from abusive situations, money for the local social services departments to work with babies infected with the AIDS virus and increases in high school nurses to counsel against pregnancy and substance abuse. Last month, the state opened a comprehensive treatment facility for pregnant addicts, and there are plans for a $500 million center to care for severely disabled infants, she said.

Another group unhappy with Schaefer's performance are families of developmentally disabled adults who were angered last year when the governor proposed that they pay up to 15 percent of their gross incomes for fees to cut the list of people waiting for services. More than 6,000 mentally disabled adults receive no services despite a 43 percent funding increase over four years.

"It doesn't matter if we had a $400 million {surplus} or if {the state is} broke, the developmentally disabled population has never been a priority," said Lorraine M. Sheehan, president of the Maryland Association for Retarded Citizens, whose organization forced Schaefer to back away from the proposal after a bruising political fight.

Schaefer said he was right to ask families to help pay for services. "We were asking people who could afford it. What I thought, and still believe, is they should pay a little bit."