Other women inmates also suffering, watching and astonished by the
relief, dignity and mercy you effected
The entire staff is so committed to finding solutions…
…they were really committed to seeing this project through to a successful outcome that makes a real difference in the lives of Maryland’s foster children
The criminal justice system should seek fairness, not revenge.
working to mend the “safety net” through which too many fall during difficult times
2008–2009 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
vOLUNTEERS & INTERNS
President Michael K. Wasno
Executive Director John Nethercut
Law Clerks—Summer 2008 Robin Jacobs– University of Maryland
vice President Robert E. Funk, Jr. vice President Professor Michele E. Gilman University of Baltimore–School of Law Secretary Julieta Tord Treasurer Gregory Hemingway, CPA Directors Taro J. Adachi, MD, FACOG Rebecca Saybolt Bainum, Esq. University of Baltimore–School of Law Edward M. Buxbaum, Esq. Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP Paul S. Caiola, Esq. Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, LLP Lea Gilmore Dennis C. Hayes, Esq. NAACP
Legal Director Debra Gardner Attorneys Sally Dworak-Fisher Wendy Hess Rhonda B. Lipkin Laurie Norris Sharon Rubinstein Francis D. Murnaghan Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellow C. Matthew Hill ABA Section of Litigation Civil Right to Counsel Fellow John Pollock Director of Public Policy Mark J. McLaurin Office Manager Brenda L. Midkiff
Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, Esq. Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP
Paralegal Levern Blackmon
Keith D. Milligan Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development
Director of Development Jennifer K. Pelton, CFRE
Frank J. O’Donnell, SM, Esq. Marianist Community
Program Administrator & Development Associate Alexandria Lunn
Professor Michael Pinard University of Maryland School of Law Joy Sakamoto-Wengel, Esq. Office of the Attorney General Eric L. Sherbine, Esq. DLA Piper LLP Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff P. Andrew Torrez, Esq. Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP Christine E. Webber, Esq. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll P.L.L.C.
Legal Assistants Tanisha Carpenter Jillian Krupp OSI Fellow & FYI Coordinator Shantel Randolph Jesuit volunteer Corps Shawn Kaminsky Ignatian volunteer Corps Dr. Carol Rice
Kim Evans–Seattle University Law Clerks—Summer 2009 Susan Francis– University of Baltimore James Flinn–Tulane University Allison Shulman– Washington University Rachel Cohen– Georgetown University Walter Sondheim Jr. Maryland Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Harvir Kaur– Johns Hopkins University Hannah Stahl– St. Johns College
vOLUNTEERS Nadja Bentley-Hammond Dalesha Bowman Melanie Brennan Henry Brown Eleanor Burnett Monisha Cherayil Maia Ellis David Epstein Christina Garvey Michelle Gulino Latisha Henderson Nia Johnson Anna Kokocka Sara Lever Shoshana Maxwell Genevieve Nichols Jackie Parker Edward Russell Jacqueline Sofia Piyush Sovani Sharlene Su Elizabeth Waicker Tyell Yancey
Friends and Allies, Trying to eliminate poverty and discrimination in a period when the collapsing economy is daily creating more poor people is challenging, to say the least. Seeking fair laws that recognize and enforce the rights of those “who need,” and not just those “who have,” may seem idealistic. But this year has forced into the open what we have long known to be true: government “safety net” programs meant to help people during difficult times have gaping holes through which too many fall. More people are now trying to figure out how to meet their basic human needs – food, shelter, employment, health care. Perhaps the “poor” are not quite so distant or reprehensible an “other,” but that is little solace as more people vie to access basic needs that are now just more scarce. These are not new challenges to the Public Justice Center. In fact, it’s just more confirmation that we need to redouble our efforts and commitment to our mission of “pursuing systemic advocacy to build a more just society.” The PJC persists and remains undaunted. In the last year, we continued seeking large scale changes to social and legal system in the courts, legislatures, government agencies, and through public education and coalition building. The PJC’s exceptional staff and board stood strong in partnership with our courageous clients, generous donors and dedicated volunteers. Read this report to see illustrations of how opportunity, strength and experience can lead to significant impact. Call us if you have questions. Thank you. Your unwavering generosity and contributions of money, time and talent are helping us move steadily toward a more just society.
John Nethercut Executive Director
Michael K. Wasno President, Board of Directors
Prisoners’ Rights MISSION: The Prisoners’ Rights project seeks to make incarceration rare, brief, humane and resulting in a rehabilitative experience leading to successful re-entry into society. IMPACT: The combined efforts of a PJC client advocate, a full-time Jesuit Volunteer Corps member and 17 college student volunteers resolved health concerns for 174 inmates with issues including mental health, HIV, chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and dental care.
We also responded to reports of violence in the facility and supported efforts to access employment upon re-entry to the community. For the first time in the project’s history, officials at BCDC responded to our advocacy within an agreedupon time frame and they have instituted internal mechanisms to ensure that our clients are seen promptly. We received this note from a former BCDC inmate who benefitted from our advocacy efforts.
ed. Your presence and chronically disabl I am a woman, a senior and acts resulted in: longer adequate when my cane was no Being able to ambulate lker. wa a as ve chair to ser as I was provided a plastic means of a go to court hearings by Being able to actually . wheelchair you arranged ticipate in my mental faculties to par Being able to have clear wheelchair to m fro rt lar skeletal suppo scu mu d ha I as se en def ger my epilepsy. slow flare-up and not trig ronic medical ance medications for ch My receiving mainten n. ing prior to incarceratio conditions I was receiv when a CO tion for a 4 day period Emergency hospitaliza found me collapsed… and astonished also suffering, watching Other women inmates Your presence d mercy you effected. by the relief, dignity an tional correctional and institu impacted on medical, . administrative staffs. . assist you in ur service if I can ever Please know I am at yo any way. Ms. X. A profoundly grateful,
IMPACT: In June 2009, the long-awaited settlement was reached in Duvall v. O’Malley, et. al.. The 17-year-old class action case requires the State to provide constitutionally required health care and safe and sanitary physical conditions of confinement at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) where tens of thousands of inmates are held each year. The PJC joined the case in December 2003, as co-counsel with the ACLU’s National Prison Project. The settlement brings new changes including screening new detainees for medical and psychiatric conditions and improving access to important medications such as insulin and anti-retrovirals. One outstanding issue remains regarding intolerable heat in the men’s maximum security facility and we will move forward with trial in court to resolve this concern.
IMPACT: As we prepared this report, a decision was announced by the Court of Special Appeals determining an important victory for citizens’ rights to seek information under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA.) Their decision in Massey v. Galley confirmed that a prisoner has the right to enforce the MPIA to seek information as does anyone else, and that the government cannot wait to respond until after they are sued. Massey is another example of PJC’s commitment to long-haul reform: the initial suit was filed in 2002 and PJC attorney Wendy Hess argued our case in front of the Court of Special Appeals in March 2008. The unpublished decision was reported in August 2009.
“Being tough on crime shouldn’t mean putting prisoners’ lives at risk through blatantly inadequate medical care and woefully unsanitary conditions”
Wendy Hess directs the Prisoners’ Rights Project
—Baltimore Sun 8/20/09
re dignified each of you we P.S I was proud of how es. despite the circumstanc
The donors listed here have made the choice to invest in real solutions to the difficult problems our society faces. Thank you.
The Abell Foundation Taro J. Adachi, MD American Bar Association Anonymous (5) Frank W. Arndt Joshua N. Auerbach Martin and Evelyn Auerbach
Mr. and Mrs. Rignal W. Baldwin, Jr. Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP Baltimore City CDBG Baltimore Community Foundation Baltimore Homeless Services
Gail A. Bartlett Baxter, Baker, Sidle, Conn & Jones, PA Sandra L. and Howard G. Bell Bennett & Bair, LLC Michael and Pamela Betton Lauren G. Bixler
PJC’s Levern Blackmon supports hundreds of renters in Baltimore City through outreach and advocacy.
In March, friends and partners gathered to celebrate the premiere of PJC’s newest film for tenants. L to R: Eileen Gillan, Executive Director of Megaphone Project; Nevett Steele, founder of PJC; Levern Blackmon, PJC Tenant Advocate; and Altorro Black, the film’s narrator.
Tenant Advocacy Project MISSION: The Tenant Advocacy Project seeks to protect and expand tenants’ rights to safe, habitable, affordable, and nondiscriminatory housing, and to fair and equal treatment by Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws, courts, and agencies. IMPACT: Tenant information and client advocacy: Through hotline calls and in-court representation, the PJC helped more than 350 tenants in Baltimore City’s rent court on eviction and rent escrow cases. IMPACT: PJC representatives provided more than 20 tenants rights’ educational programs to tenant, community, and social service organizations – reaching hundreds of people with valuable information. IMPACT: In March 2009, the PJC premiered the film “Standing Up For Yourself In Baltimore City Rent Court” which dramatizes common defenses and court room procedures that tenants will encounter. The 24-minute film was jointly produced with Megaphone Project. It was filmed in District Court with court personnel for the 150,000 tenants who are sued for eviction in Baltimore each year. It shows tenants that by standing up for themselves, they can make sure the judge understands their side of the story. It is now being shown at PJC’s regular outreach presentations, online at PJC’s website and the People’s Law Library, on continuous play at the Legal Aid Bureau’s Baltimore City office, at bi-monthly events at the Franciscan Center and many other places.
“Standing Up For Yourself In Baltimore City Rent Court” is an educational film created for the 150,000 tenants who are sued for eviction in Baltimore each year.
The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. Catherine Bledsoe Marilyn Bliden The Lois and Irving Blum Foundation, Inc. James D. Blum Ascanio S. Boccuti
Kristin M. Bohl Terezie S. Bohrer Michael Booth and Kristine Smets Stephanie Bower Robert R. and Theodosia C. Bowie Rebecca G. Bowman
The PJC appreciates the donors who made this new tenant education film possible: The 32nd Street Farmer’s Market Foundation The Abell Foundation The Baltimore Bar Foundation Maryland Legal Services Corporation
IMPACT: PJC took on the emerging issue of tenants who are evicted because the landlord loses the home in a foreclosure. We organized a “coalition of coalitions”, drawing together the Rental Housing Coalition and the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition. Together, these allies formed a committee to gather data on the impact of the issue, began developing tenant education materials, and successfully advocated for increased protections for tenants in the 2009 Session of the Maryland General Assembly. New state law provides tenants with enhanced notice of the foreclosure action.
National studies show that 20% of the properties being foreclosed are rental properties, and 40% of the people who lose their home in foreclosures are renters. Once the house is sold at a foreclosure sale, the new owner (oftentimes the bank) will likely evict the tenants even if they are current on their rent payments and had done nothing to violate the lease. In Baltimore City in 2008, there were
New federal law provides that tenants’ leases will survive a foreclosure sale, at least until the foreclosure purchaser sends them a 90 day notice to terminate the tenancy.
3600 foreclosure filings,
The combination of increased notice given to Maryland tenants by the Maryland General Assembly and the increased rights given to all tenants by the U.S. Congress now gives the recognition and relief to tenants we sought.
families were at risk
which would mean that approximately 720 tenantoccupied units, and perhaps 1,000 or more tenant of eviction.
LOOKING FORWARD: In the coming year, the PJC will add resources to bolster our response to the looming “tenants in foreclosure” crisis. We are delighted that the 2008-09 Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellow, Matt Hill will remain with the PJC in his new role as the attorney for this project.
The Honorable Georgia S. Brady Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC C. Christopher Brown Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP L. Tracy Brown Cindy S. and Edward M. Buxbaum
Paul S. Caiola and Vanessa D. Billings JoAnne Cambridge Kimberly T. and Michael R. Carrigan, Sr. Michele L. and Stephen Castro Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall, LLC
Theresa and George E. Chianese Celestine M. Church Kellam Heather Clifford Peggy and Ronald Cohen Suzanne F. Cohen Douglas L. Colbert
Access to Health and Public Benefits Project PUBLIC BENEFITS
Mission: Provide systemic advocacy through litigation and policy advocacy to remove obstacles and preserve public benefit programs for low-income people, including Medicaid, food stamps and income supports. IMPACT: In April 2009, Debra Gardner, Legal Director of the PJC, in partnership with the Homeless Persons Representation Project and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Miracyle Thompson, a Baltimore County resident, and thousands of others. The complaint against Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) centers on months-long delays in processing applications that are designed to quickly meet urgent needs for food, medical care, and temporary subsistence income. Federal and state laws mandate that eligible applicants be given food stamps, Medicaid and Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) no later than 30 days after they apply. Ms. Thompson applied for food stamps and Medicaid for her family in late February. As of the end of April 2009, she had still not received her benefits. The day after the suit was filed, DHR called Ms. Thompson to tell her that her application was approved and she received her benefits. The PJC continues to negotiate with the DHR for class-wide relief. We hope to encourage adequate staffing and implementation of the best modern practices for benefits processing. IN CONTEXT: The collapse of the U.S. economy is now bringing into sharper focus the fact that what safety net exists has gaping holes and does not have an infrastructure that could properly manage benefits even for the pre-recession poor. Government has been on a long-term disinvestment path in providing adequately for its citizens. Now, the surge in applications for ‘safety net’ programs – including food stamps and other emergency benefits – has risen dramatically with the addition of many thousands more Marylanders in dire situations. Ms. Thompson is just one of approximately 55,000 new applicants for this critical aid whose ranks have swelled during the last year of economic difficulty. Yet the problem of serious delays in processing benefits has existed for more than a decade. According to the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, since 2001 DHR has lost over 1,400 full-time staff positions, most of which were frontline positions responsible for processing benefits and they are projected to lose another 250 in FY2010. Recent economic turmoil has only made the situation worse.
Mark D. Coplin Lawrence and Arlene Coppel Elena Cox William R. Creasy The Daily Record Vincent Daly Mary Joel Davis
Erica Del Viscio Bill Denison Shubanjali Dhawan-Gray Marci Dickman and Ralph Schwartz DLA Piper, LLP Lynne Durbin
COURAGE AWARD: The PJC honors Miracyle Thompson with the 2009 John P. Sarbanes Courage Award for her role in seeking reform of long delays by the state in response to applications for emergency aid including food stamps and Medicaid.
HEALTH RIGHTS Feature:
“Laurie: I would like to add my thanks as well for such a heartfelt and significant contribution to the program on Tuesday. The entire dental community owes you a debt of gratitude for your part in bringing this whole shameful episode to light and finding new ways to move forward to fair and equitable dental care.” —Reginald Louie, Past President of the American Board of Public Health Dentistry, written after PJC Attorney Laurie Norris spoke at the National Oral Health Conference in Portland, Oregon in April.
IMPETUS: In February 2007, PJC’s 12-year-old client, Deamonte Driver died of an untreated tooth infection. His death uncovered a miserable reality – that Maryland, the wealthiest state in the nation, ranked among the lowest in Medicaid reimbursements who treat children like Deamonte. The result has led to a severe scarcity of dentists willing to accept poor children as patients. For the lack of a dentist to pull one infected tooth, this young man lost his life. REACTION: A firestorm erupted after Deamonte’s death. Extensive media coverage brought the issue to international attention. PJC and Maryland were drawn to the forefront of a nationwide reform effort. We have been fully engaged over the past two years telling his story and working within effective state-wide and national coalitions to
Heather Dworak John C. Eidleman Deborah and Neil Eisenberg Lori Joy Eisner The Honorable John C. and Dayne W. Eldridge Kathleen and Todd Elliott
Russell Engler and Tracy Miller Susan M. Erlichman and Edward Kleinman Alexander and Judith Estrin Holly Fechner and Kevin Mills Fedder & Garten PA Howard and Ellen Feldman
Gary Felser and Debra Brown Felser Margaret Z. and Harry Ferguson Michael S. Finkle Risselle Rosenthal Fleisher The Ford Foundation Michael Duquette Fowler
Laurie Norris represented the PJC and the Dental Action Committee at the National Smile Month launch held in Baltimore in June 2009.
understand the complex problems, create long-lasting solutions and measure significant impact. PJC’s leadership in the Maryland Dental Action Committee led to the adoption of a comprehensive three-year reform plan by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at the end of 2007. PJC continues to participate in state and national efforts to achieve better children’s oral health. IMPACT: The State of Maryland has made a new $68 million investment in children’s dental services statewide, including incentives for dentists to encourage more of them to provide services to low-income patients. Bureaucratic roadblocks have been removed to allow dental professionals to provide the full array of services at public health clinics when a dentist is not present. The Board of Public Works has approved the 3-year contract with Doral Dental to be the single statewide Medicaid dental vendor, with no capitation – therefore no profit motive to deny access to care. More than $2 million has been dedicated to expanding dental services through local health departments. These efforts, combined with extensive public education and media attention, have resulted in tens of thousands of additional poor children receiving dental care. IMPACT: PJC Attorney Laurie Norris has become a sought-after speaker and recognized expert on improving poor children’s access to dental care. In March 2009, Ms. Norris represented Maryland as one of 150 invited participants in a ground-breaking event sponsored by the American Dental Association in Chicago. The ADA is taking a national leadership role in finding solutions to the access to dental care crisis for underserved children, adults and seniors. It hosted a 3-day facilitated process called Future Search with dentists, pediatricians, obstetricians, dental educators, health care finance experts, policy makers and advocates. The group agreed on seven key areas where fundamental change could make a significant impact and continues to work together virtually to bring their vision to fruition. IMPACT: Federal investigations after Deamonte Driver’s death led to several significant results. In April 2009, Baltimore played host to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) first-ever Dental Town Hall forum. Laurie Norris testified before a panel of experts and federal administrators and an audience of more than 100 stakeholders about the importance of increasing oral health literacy and the ability of medical and dental providers to communicate effectively about oral health with parents and children.
Barbara Hull Francis Fund for Change Robert E. Funk, Jr. Rob and Susan Funk Samuel P. and Elizabeth Brakefield Funk Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, LLP
Carmel Gambacorta Ruth Ann Gazaille Bill Geenen Victoria Gentile Jerome G. Geraghty Devera Gilden Eileen Gillan
Medicaid Matters!Maryland The PJC continues to partner with and provide an organizational home for Medicaid Matters! Maryland, a coalition created in 2005 to bring together the many advocates and constituent groups to preserve and protect the Medicaid program. The effectiveness of coalition work and the value of creative partnership were again demonstrated this year. In addition to a substantial legislative agenda, the coalition stepped up its efforts to educate Marylanders about Medicaid eligibility. In October 2008, they sponsored a workshop in Silver Spring entitled “Health Care Now – Enrollment Works.” Medicaid Matters collaborated with several other partners including Baltimore Health Care Access, Health Care for All, Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Reform, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. More than 150 people attended, representing local agencies, communitybased organizations, and community activists.
The PJC provides an organizational home for the Medicaid Matters!Maryland coalition and as such serves as fiscal agent. The following donors generously supported the work of the coalition this year. Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation Consumer Health Foundation The Consumer Health Foundation The Coordinating Center Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Education Fund, Inc. Maryland Hospital Association Sharon E. Rubinstein Barbara E. Seabolt
Michele E. and Neil Gilman Lea and David Gilmore Saul and Patricia Gilstein Marianne Githens Thomas X. Glancy and Charlotte A. Stivers JoAnn Goedert
Sally Gold and Elliott Zulver Goldberg, Pike & Besche, P.C. Daniel F. Goldstein and Laura W. Williams Louisa Goldstein Heather Gomes Leigh S. Goodmark and C. Douglas Nierle
Michael I. and Sandra B. Gordon Richard S. Gordon and Anna L. Davis Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman,Hoffberger & Hollander, LLC Gorman & Williams
The FYI team welcomed 175 guests to the Charles Theater for the premiere of its film “Youth Entering Foster Care.” DHR Secretary Brenda Donald and Director of DSS Molly McGrath were in attendance and were great supporters of FYI through this process.
On Behalf Of Maryland’s Foster Children newsletters to foster youth through their attorneys and schools. Students lobbied during the 2009 session of the Maryland General Assembly in opposition to HB 570 which would change the age of consent to adoption from age 10 to age 14. In the fall of 2009, FYI will move from PJC to the Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center.
Decree. The children’s attorneys will actively monitor the case to ensure that this generation of Baltimore City foster children receive the care and opportunities they deserve!
IMPACT: The PJC is cocounsel, along with Venable, representing more than 5,000 foster children in Baltimore City in LJ v. Massinga, a class action against the State of Maryland to enforce a decadesold consent decree. Rhonda Lipkin joined the PJC on a special fellowship to litigate this case. In FY09, the parties concluded an eight-month mediation effort that resulted in a proposed settlement of the case. The proposed modified consent decree requires the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to report on 126 child welfare elements and to adequately meet 40 exit standards in five main areas: preservation and permanency planning, out of home placements, healthcare, education and workforce. J. Frederick Motz, the federal judge overseeing the case, found in August, that the settlement was in the best interests of the children and the State.
On September 3, the State filed a motion asking the court not only to not approve the new decree but also to dismiss the entire case. Then, more good news as we prepared to go to print on this report. On October 9, 2009, Judge Motz, after listening to legal arguments and hearing about continuing violations of the current consent decree, strongly rejected the State’s argument and denied the Motion to Vacate. He also found that entry of the new consent decree was in the public interest, and, over the State’s objection, signed the new Modified Consent Decree. The Modified Consent Decree requires the State to measure and report on, with the verification of an independent expert, its compliance with the Consent Decree requirements and will permit the State, once BCDSS is compliant with all requirements for 18 months straight, to exit the Consent
The PJC served as the fiscal agent for the Foster Youth Incorporated. The following donors generously supported the activities of this group.
Baltimore City Department of Social Services Lays Fund
Ms. Susan P. Leviton
Ken M. and Alisa Y. Brady
Myles Brown and Judy Gaber
Christopher Todd and Margaret F. Holmes
Rhonda Lipkin and Michele Nethercott
Sandra T. Brushart
Katherine J. Jones
Donna Comegys, Comegys Instructional Media
Wesley P. Jordan and Seri A. Wilpone
Mary Joel Davis
Michael S. Katz
Blake and Melissa Fieri-Fetrow
Andrew D. Freeman
Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
The Abell Foundation Special Project Grant, Family Administration, Administrative Office of the Courts Anonymous
Marcus Gray Oscar S. Gray The School District of Greenville County Lawrence S. and Shirley K. Greenwald Stephen and Margaret Greif
Michele Ward Griffin and Todd Griffin Jeffrey Griffiths Tayrn L. Gude James M. and Patti A. Hagopian Laverna Hahn Charitable Trust Leigh and Damian Halstad
IMPACT: Foster Youth Incorporated (FYI) For the past 3 years, the PJC has sponsored Foster Youth Incorporated (FYI), a group of current and former foster youth who advocate for youth and children in the foster care system which often provides them with less than adequate care. The group has developed under the leadership of Open Society Institute Fellow, Shantel Randolph, PJC attorney Rhonda Lipkin and other supportive partners. FYI is based at Baltimore Freedom Academy, a Baltimore City “innovation” high school. The group was busy this year with outreach and educational visits to other Baltimore City schools and distributed
Carlette A. Hawthorne Dennis C. Hayes Carel T. Hedlund Gregory and Amy Hemingway William and Monica Henderson Marianne and Robert Hendricks
IMPACT: Education Stability and Continuity for Foster Children: In 2004, with the support from the Paige Family Foundation, the DeVito Family Foundation, the Baltimore Community Foundation and others, the PJC created a project to investigate the impact that being in foster care has on a student’s education. Our efforts uncovered deep systemic obstacles and interagency challenges. We set to work and accomplished significant reform over a few short years. Results of our efforts included a new law
MARFY Friends of Foster Care Foundation Maryland Department of Human Resources Lisa D. and William D. Mathias James and Diane McComb Mecca’s Place, Inc.
Ann S. Hobbs The Hoffberger Foundation Hogan & Hartson, L.L.P. Guy Hollyday and Pamela Fleming Alice M. Horowitz Rory C. Howe
Barry W. Hudson The Honorable Harry R. Hughes Marjorie B. Hunt Robin L. Jacobs Edythe M. Jones Joy M. Napier-Joyce and Keir R. Joyce
mandating prompt transfer of educational records of students in state-supervised care; new regulations giving McKinney-Vento protections for children “awaiting foster care placement” and a groundbreaking collaboration between Maryland’s State Department of Education and Department of Human Resources toward more coordinated education services for foster children. The PJC, with MSDE and DHR published a 64-page user-friendly, internetfriendly handbook: “Access to Education for Children in State-Supervised Care.” The handbook, co-authored by PJC’s Wendy Hess, was chosen to be featured in the American Bar Association’s Blueprint for Change, a collection of best practices for states in the field of foster children’s education. A 15-minute video explaining the handbook was also released. Both can be found on PJC’s website.
The PJC’s Wendy Hess coco-authored a handbook for MSDE and DHR employees. The handbook was chosen for feature in the American Bar Association’s Blueprint for Change, a collection of best practices for states in the field of foster children’s education.
“I’ve spent more than thirty years working in child welfare in the state of Maryland. So often, a project begins with a lot of enthusiasm but winds down without getting the desired outcomes. I’m grateful to (PJC Attorneys) Wendy (Hess) and Laurie (Norris) because they were really committed to seeing this project through to a successful outcome that makes a real difference in the lives of Maryland’s foster children.” —Cathy Fisher, former Executive Director of Maryland Social Services Administration (SSA)
“I was very surprised by the lasting impression that Wendy Hess’ presentation has left on me. I learned a great deal about the criminal justice system, and the statistics and apparent discrepancies never cease to amaze me. However, the most memorable part of her presentation was her emphasis on the word justice. The criminal justice system should seek fairness, not revenge. She really opened my eyes to the fact that many individuals who are imprisoned leave small children behind with no other parent or guardian. Therefore, these children grow up without stable family support, and oftentimes end up behind bars themselves. Wendy challenged me to judge with my heart, and recognize the cruelties of such cycles to which I had never given much attention.” —Colleen, a Loyola College student who attended a discussion with Wendy Hess, director of Prisoners’ Rights project
The popular “Justice for Breakfast” series continued. Hosted by Brown, Goldstein & Levy, the conversations concentrate on ‘big picture’ issues and the PJC’s approach. Topics included workplace justice, education stability, using film as an advocacy tool and building creative partnerships that leverage impact.
John Meyerhoff and Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff Fund Calvin C. Watkins, Jr., Chosen Media, Inc. Warren S. Oliveri and McGennis Williams Sharon Rubinstein The Martha and Loretta Trolin Atkins Fund Millicent E. Tyler
David A. Kandel and Betsy L. Krieger The Honorable Ronald A. Karasic Richard and Judith Katz Kaufman, Ries & Elgin, P.A. Diana Keener Jodi Kelber-Kaye
Robert R. Kern, Jr. Ingrid Kershner Bonnie A. Kirkland Mark Kopec John L. Kopolow George and Shelley Korch
Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum and Harold Weisbaum The Abraham & Ruth Krieger Family Foundation, Inc. The Zanvyl and Isabelle Kreiger Fund Gary and Michelle Krupka Mick Kukula
Joan L. Lancaster Alan Hilliard Legum, Esquire William Leibovici and Dana Reed Senator Michael Lenett Paige Lescure Hannah E. Lieberman
The Honorable James J. Lombardi Sally A. Lowe Fran Ludman Donna L. Lyons-Atwell Patrick E. and Susan S. Maher Allan J. and Pamela Lynn Malester
Through outreach, community education and litigation, the PJC helps homeless students stay in school.
PJC Attorneys are recognized for their expertise in education stability issues. Here, Sally Dworak-Fisher, the lead counsel in PJC’s suit against Baltimore County schools speaks at the NLCHP gala. Photo courtesy of NLCHP. Photo credit: Ricky Leung
Education Stability Project Formerly known as the Homeless Children’s Right to Education Project MISSION: Using a variety of advocacy methods (negotiation, litigation, administrative and legislative advocacy, and public education) the Education Stability Project advocates on behalf of homeless children and youth to eliminate barriers to educational continuity and to increase retention and success in school. Every homeless child in school – every school day! IN CONTEXT: A new report from the National Center on Family Homelessness finds that one in every 50, or approximately 1.5 million, American children is now homeless. “Children without homes are on the frontline of the nation’s economic crisis,” writes Ellen L. Bassuk, president of the Center and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. We have long known that homeless children struggle more in school than those with permanent, stable housing. This report, “America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness,” acknowledges an average of 16 percent lower proficiency in math and reading, and an estimated graduation rate below 25 percent overall. IMPACT: This year, the PJC focused on implementing the June 2008 consent decree that requires Baltimore County public school system to enforce homeless students’ rights under the McKinneyVento Act. Pursuant to the decree, school officials must properly identify homeless children, promptly enroll them in school, provide transportation, meals and other critical school services, inform them of their right to appeal, provide monitoring reports on all of its homeless students for two years, conduct training sessions about the McKinney-Vento Act, and provide a brochure “Homeless Children and Youth In Baltimore County” to all school nurses, teachers and bus drivers.
IMPACT: PJC attorney Sally Dworak-Fisher published “Educational Stability for Students Without Homes: Realizing the Promise of McKinney-Vento” in the March/April 2009 edition of the Clearinghouse REVIEW Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. The article reflects on the efforts of our Education Stability project, examines the growing tenants in foreclosure crisis and illuminates the health risks faced by homeless students. Through this article, the PJC has provided valuable education and training to a large national network of legal advocates. IMPACT: In September 2008, the PJC and Megaphone Project premiered the release of their jointly produced film: “Beyond Debate: The Rights of Homeless Students.” This 15-minute movie teaches homeless families and youth about their rights under the federal McKinney-Vento Act. More than 400 copies of the film have been distributed and it is being shown at homeless shelters, health and immunization clinics, Department of Social Services offices, WIC and family planning clinics, county health departments, Legal Aid waiting rooms, school systems and many other venues where homeless families and students might seek assistance. It is also available online and at public libraries. PJC staff showed the film and distributed copies at the national conference for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth in November. The project was supported by the Baltimore Community Foundation, Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, Devito Family Trust, Marianist Sharing Fund, Maryland Legal Services Corporation, Memorial Episcopal Church and Philip and Beryl Sachs Family Foundation. Distribution was supported by the Bolton Street Synagogue and the John Meyerhoff and Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff Fund. LOOKING FORWARD: The PJC is raising funds to create a culturally competent, Spanish-language version of the homeless children’s film. Maryland has a significant population of families whose primary language is Spanish, including recent immigrants and migrant workers in our agricultural areas. Their children are protected by McKinney-Vento but are largely underserved. Interested donors can learn more at (410)625-9409.
Sandra Bullock, lead plaintiff in the Baltimore County education case was honored with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty’s Personal Achievement Award in November. Ms. Bullock (center) stands with PJC’s Sally Dworak-Fisher (left) and NLCHP’s Maria Foscarinis. Photo courtesy of NLCHP. Photo credit: Ricky Leung
Mark D. Maneche Vicki A. Margolis Marianist Sharing Fund Maryland Legal Services Corporation Kenneth J. and Rebecca J. Matejek Jerome and Frances May
Kathie D. McCleskey Diane and Jim McComb James V. McFaul Lynne M. Meador Abel and Susan Merrill William F. Merritt and Tricia Rubacky
The John Meyerhoff and Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff Fund Keith D. Milligan Ruth and Carroll M. Milligan Mission Media, LLC The Mobtown Fund John F. Morkan, III
Diana L. Morris and Peter Shiras Elizabeth K. Moser Murphy & Shaffer LLC Sherry R. Myers Aaron J. Mysliwiec Nathans & Biddle LLP
Gordon and Vernie Nethercut John Nethercut and Emily Hunt William S. Nethercut Frank J. O’Donnell, S.M. Lee H. Ogburn Barbara O’Neill Beale
Workplace Justice Project
The PJC released a powerful film about the education rights of homeless students. More than 400 copies have been distributed. The film was selected for screening at the Baltimore Women’s Film Festival in October 2009.
Overview: One of the essential pillars of the PJC’s work is to ensure justice in the workplace for low-wage workers. In our view, robust labor laws are essential to eliminating the problems of poverty and inequality that unfairly burden the low-wage workforce. Low-wage workers struggling to support families are often subject to discrimination, denied minimum or overtime wages, not paid for their work, or are made to work in unsafe conditions. If they speak out, they risk retaliation or termination. This year, the PJC ramped up the Workplace Justice project with new funding from the Public Welfare Foundation. We were active during the 2009 Maryland General Assembly Session, working with allies including the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, CASA de Maryland, Jobs Opportunities Task Force and various labor unions. Our collective efforts focused on areas where we could make the most impact. IMPACT: An employer who misclassifies “employees” as “independent contractors” cheats employees out of various benefits and the State out of taxes. To address this widespread practice, the new Workplace Fraud Act of 2009 authorizes DLLR to investigate and impose civil penalties, and includes a private right of action and triple damages for
Open Society Institute Orrick, Herrington, Sutcliffe, LLP Chuck and Michele Oseroff O’Toole, Rothwell, Nassau & Steinbach William P. and Patricia M. Oxenford
The Paige Family Foundation Karen R. and Anthony E. Pasko Kathleen D. Patti Jennifer and Carl Pelton Susan L. and Robert L. Pemberton
the knowing misclassification by specific employers. In workgroup bill drafting sessions, the PJC represented the perspective of the low-wage worker, and fought for the private right of action and attorney’s fees so that low-wage workers can access the legal protections afforded by the Act. IMPACT: At the request of our allies at the Job Opportunities Task Force, the PJC supported a bill to provide unemployment insurance for part-time workers. PJC researched the issues, reviewed the bill, and provided written and oral testimony in support. The legislation (SB270/ HB310) passed.
IMPACT: In May, the PJC hosted a panel at the 2009 Partners for Justice Conference to identify the most pressing needs of low-wage workers, and how advocates might work together better to meet those needs. We followed this panel with a series of meetings and laid the infrastructure for a strong policy coalition that will more effectively coordinate the work of advocates for lowwage workers.
IMPACT: In 2008, the General Assembly passed SB562, a law that prohibits an employer from discharging, demoting, suspending or otherwise discriminating against an employee when he or she availed him or herself of the Flexible Leave Act. In 2009, a compromise was reached to amend the bill. The PJC’s role was primarily behind the scenes: we detected that the changed language in the compromise would have made the bill unenforceable. We enlisted the help of the Maryland Employment Lawyers Association and, in a behind the scenes move, were able to restore the bill to actually protect workers.
Michael D. Pinard and Carla Cartwright Public Welfare Foundation Quinn, Gordon & Wolf, Chtd. Darius and Monica Rastegar Gerard and Eileen Reardon Charles A. Rees
Charles B. Reeves, Jr. Deborah A. Reid Salem Reiner and Dana L. Johnson Russell R. Reno, Jr. Carol Rice David E. Rice
John and Susan Rockefeller Florence Wasman Roisman Bob and Michele Rose Delegate Samuel I. Rosenberg Rosenberg, Martin & Greenberg, LLP Brian A. Rosenfeld and Sally A. Thorner
Appellate Advocacy This year the PJC’s Appellate Advocacy Project authored 11 briefs and received 3 decisions in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in Maryland’s Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals. These cases involved issues of disability discrimination, election law, health access, employment law and discrimination, prisoners’ rights, rights of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons, and housing/ consumer protection law. The Appellate Advocacy Project is staffed, in part, by the Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow, a one-year position for a recent judicial clerk to honor the late Judge Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. who served on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. This year’s Fellow, C. Matthew Hill, engaged in numerous opportunities to advocate for our nation’s most vulnerable and voiceless. Over the course of his twelve-month fellowship, Matthew authored 8 briefs and 1 petition for a writ of certiorari. Additionally, he gathered diverse coalitions of public interest organizations to file 6 amicus briefs that highlight important issues in cases that will impact the rights of marginalized persons. Matthew’s work focused intensely on those populations hit hardest by the recent economic downturn.
Dana Rosenfeld and Eric Biel Helen Rubinstein Sharon Rubinstein Philip and Beryl Sachs Family Foundation Stephen H. and Sheila K. Sachs Saiontz & Kirk, P.A.
Appellate advocacy, when successful, changes the law that affects thousands or millions of people. Two recent successful examples: IMPACT: In November 2008, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a favorable decision in Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene v. Brown that will enable more seniors to remain in their homes with community-based services rather than go to nursing homes. This case concerned the medical eligibility standard the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) uses to determine which middleand low-income seniors are eligible to participate in the highly-sought after home- and community-based services (HCBS) waiver programs funded by Medicaid. The PJC’s amicus brief served to highlight the importance of HCBS waiver programs and illustrate the harm Maryland’s unduly strict standard imposes on disabled seniors in Maryland.
Maryland Employment Lawyers Association, supporting two former employees of the State’s Attorney for Caroline County represented by the ACLU of Maryland. The employees sued the current State’s Attorney and the County for terminating their employment because they had engaged in political speech and campaigned for the County’s former State’s Attorney. The amicus brief strongly supported the right of Maryland’s public employees to engage in the political process without fear of termination.
IMPACT: Newell v. Runnels. On March 13, 2009, the Court of Appeals delivered a strong decision affirming the right of government employees to engage in political speech without fear of retaliation. On October 3, 2008, the PJC filed an amicus brief on behalf of the PJC and the
Joy R. and Steve M. Sakamoto-Wengel Salsbury, Clements, Bekman, Marder & Adkins, LLC Janice G. and Bernard B. Salzman The Honorable John P. and Dina E. Sarbanes
The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes ScanTango Schochor, Federico & Staton, P.A. Schulman, Treem, Kaminkow & Gilden, P.A. Daniel E. Schultz
Each year, the PJC works in partnership with other organizations on our appellate advocacy agenda. This year, our partners included: ACLU-MD Alternative Directions, Inc. American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Casa De Maryland Civil Advocacy Clinic of the University Of Baltimore School Of Law Civil Justice, Inc. Homeless Persons Representation Project International Cure Justice Maryland Justice Policy Institute Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, Inc. Maryland Disability Law Center Maryland Employment Lawyers Association Maryland Nurses Association Maryland Nurses Coalition Maryland Women’s Coalition For Health Care Reform Medicaid Matters! Maryland Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association National Association of Consumer Advocates
Arthur G. and Amy J. Sedmont Joseph Sellers and Laurie Davis Shawe & Rosenthal, LLP Eric Sherbine and Cindy Weisbart Dana Shoenberg and Jeff Rackow
M. Sigmund and Barbara K. Shapiro Philanthropic Fund Slevin & Hart, P.C. Howard Sollins and Barbara Resnick Berryl A. and Linda G. Speert Thomas S. Spencer Isazetta A. Spikes
Civil Right To Counsel Since 2003, the PJC has led the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) whose mission is to encourage, support and coordinate advocacy to expand recognition and implementation of a right to counsel in civil cases. The NCCRC leadership team is a collaboration of five national organizations: the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Committee for Indigent Representation and Civil Legal Equity at the Northwest Justice Project, the Public Justice Center, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants of the American Bar Association. These partners are at the forefront of right to counsel efforts over time and across the country, providing leadership and support to the larger national coalition, which itself is comprised of 180 participants from 37 states. In FY09, the leadership team achieved the following results: • We mapped the prospects for civil right to counsel initiatives in all 50 states and Washington DC. In seven of those states, we worked to help build broad-based and committee civil right to counsel task forces. • We enlisted the help of law firms from around the country to produce authoritative memoranda of law analyzing constitutional, statutory, and case law in more than 40 states. • We filed amicus briefs on behalf of the NCCRC in cases in Alaska and Michigan. • We persuaded numerous state and local bar associations to support the civil right to counsel. • We provided technical support to advocates working to persuade the New York City Council to adopt the first bill in the nation that would establish government-funded right to counsel for lowincome senior citizens in eviction and foreclosure proceedings. We also supported legislative advocacy efforts in Louisiana.
“I leave with even a stronger belief in the work that PJC is doing, and being incredibly impressed by your commitment and hard work to advocate for those that have the greatest needs and the most unheard voices. It was inspiring to work with such smart and dedicated individuals. It was great to get to know each of you and discover that you are also incredibly compassionate, friendly and fun to spend time with. I was already leaning strongly towards public interest work, but you all were amazing validation of the value and importance of the work, and being able to preserve your humanity and sense of humor along the way.” — Susan Francis, UB Law School, Summer Law Clerk 2009
• We continued to build a deep and broad national coalition dedicated to the civil right to counsel. www.civilrighttocounsel.org
Renaye B. Stafford Therese Staudenmaier and Daniel J. McCarthy Mark and Carol Steinbach Marc E. Steinberg and Jennifer Goldberg Jere B. Stern Gustava Taler
Michelle Malvaso Tate and Robert S. Tate Jerrold A. Thrope Maggie Tindall Julieta Tord Andrew and Terri Torrez Elizabeth H. Trimble
Dorothea A. Trubow Michal Tsemach Tydings & Rosenberg LLP Richard Ullrich United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, CLC Carlos and Paulina Vasquez
Venable, LLP Verizon Foundation Joseph Vigman Foundation Theodore and Rita Walden Warnken, LLC Michael K. and Annette M. Wasno
Richard L. Wasserman Lyn Watner Christine E. Webber and J. Wesley McClain Law Offices of Arnold M. Weiner Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P.
ELLIE COX This year, the PJC received the largest single contribution ever given by an individual donor to our organization. The donor, Ellie Cox, shared a bit about her inspiration for this gift:
“I have great admiration and respect for the work that the PJC does. I was brought up with the idea that it is important to work to help others. This influenced me to dedicate much of my professional life to social justice organizations. Along the way, I’ve discovered that the more work you do for social justice, the more you realize that there is a lot of “gray.” It’s not always obvious what is “right” and what is “wrong.” The more you see the gray, the more of a challenge it is to figure out what to do to help. For me, the power of the PJC and the people who work there has to do with their ability to look into the gray and have the courage to make sense out of it. The entire staff is so committed to finding solutions in the middle of the gray. The world is a better place because the PJC is in it. They are unique. I’m committed to keeping their work going, and I hope that my financial support will inspire and galvanize others to join me.”
RICHARD S. GORDON One of the PJC’s most ardent supporters is Richard Gordon. Each year, Richard and his law firm Quinn, Gordon and Wolf, Chtd. make generous contributions to support our mission. Over the past several years, the firm has issued challenge gifts to encourage an increased level of contributions raised from the private bar community. Richard shares this inspiration for their support:
“We give generously to the Public Justice Center because ultimately, when they succeed, we all benefit. Our community becomes stronger. In our view, this organization is the last line of defense for the poor, under-represented and otherwise unpopular members of our society. The PJC helps individuals break the cycle of failure by creating access to basic needs like housing, education, employment and health care. They also create access to the justice system. They hold government, private corporations and abusive landlords accountable. In fact, the PJC levels the playing field that is so dramatically out of balance.” —Richard Gordon
Angel B. Wilhelmi Alicia Wilson Roger C. Wolf and Judy Lyons Wolf Alan D. and Lee M. Yarbro Lewis Yelin and Theresa Hinze La0urie S. Zabin
The Bea & David Zack Memorial Foundation Inc. Sarah A. Zietlow Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
These donors made gifts between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 to support the Public Justice Center, Inc. Thank you. Your support helps us build a more just society. In addition to the donors listed, we recognize and acknowledge those who make contributions through workplace giving campaigns. We might not know your names, but we are thankful for your support of our work. We also thank those friends who made possible the cy pres awards that supported our work this year.
July 1, 2008–June 30, 2009 (FY09)
The following information was prepared from end-of-year statements prior to the completion of the annual independent audits.
Income Total: $1,497,143
Interest, other $7,324 <1% Events $5,000 <1% Contribution from Murnagahan Fellowship Committee $40,000—3%
Expense Total: $1,497,143 Fundraising 195,153—13% Administration 67,941—5%
Grants from Foundations (restricted) $1,029,859—69% Program 1,234,049—82%
Grants from Foundations (unrestricted) $214,503—14% Law Firms $41,300—3% Individuals $63,682—4% Cy pres $16,965—1% Use of unrestricted net assets $78,510—5%
The Public Justice Center, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Maryland. All contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Copies of current financial statements are available upon request by contacting the Public Justice Center at One North Charles Street, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21201 or by telephone: (410)625-9409. Documents and information submitted to the State of Maryland under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are available from the Office of the Secretary of State, Annapolis, MD 21401 for the cost of copying and postage.
2008–09 Annual Report We are pursuing systemic change to build a more just society.
The Public Justice Center, Inc. 1 N Charles St. Ste 200 Baltimore, MD 21201
Your work is so exquisitely to the point and so obviously effective in areas which have concerned me for so long. On behalf of those of us who (currently) watch from “outside the fray” as well as those who benefit, please keep it up. – Rikki Fleisher, Bethany Beach, Delaware
Nonprofit Org. US Postage
Baltimore MD Permit 6074