Maryland creates new Office for Children, reorganizes Crime Prevention and Policy Office

19 January 2024- Governor Wes Moore today signed two executive orders reaffirming the Moore-Miller administration’s commitment to fighting child poverty and public safety throughout Maryland. The executive orders establish the Governor’s Office for Children and the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention and Policy.

The Governor’s Office for Children will lead statewide efforts to build a comprehensive network of supports, programs, and services for children and their families to promote social and emotional well-being; reduce food insecurity; combat youth homelessness; expand access to health services; improve education outcomes and job readiness; expand access to good jobs; and increase economic opportunity in sustainable ways. The office will drive a holistic, coordinated approach within state government and across public and private sectors at the federal, state, and local levels. 

During the press conference, Governor Moore announced the appointment of Special Secretary for the Governor’s Office for Children and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Economic Mobility Carmel Martin. Martin will also lead the Children’s Cabinet, which comprises secretaries from various state agencies and develops and implements coordinated State policies and programs designed to improve the well-being of children and families.

January 18, 2024 EO Signing

Martin recently served as the domestic policy advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris and deputy assistant to President Joseph R. Biden. At the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, she served as deputy assistant to the president for economic mobility and deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council. Prior to that role, Martin served as a senior policy advisor for the Biden for President campaign. Before joining the campaign, she was a managing director for state and local partnerships at the Emerson Collective. She also served as executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress. 

During the Obama Administration, Martin served as the assistant secretary for policy and budget at the U.S. Department of Education. Early in her career, she worked as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. She graduated with a J.D. and masters degree in public affairs from the University of Texas.

“I applaud Governor Moore for creating an Office for Children and a Children’s Cabinet, so that Maryland can continue to raise the bar in education and the cause of children across the state,” said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “Carmel Martin was an outstanding leader at the White House during her time with the Domestic Policy Council. She was a great thought partner for me and our team at the U.S. Department of Education and I am excited about the difference she will make for the children of Maryland.”

The Governor’s Office for Crime Prevention and Policy—formerly known as the Governor’s Office for Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services—will serve as the agency of designation for state and federal public safety funding that will support innovative programming to improve public safety outcomes and provide resources to law enforcement and victim services. Dorothy Lennig will continue her service as executive director.

“This move allows the Governor’s Office for Crime Prevention and Policy to focus on the urgent task of improving public safety in an impactful and sustained way, while allowing the Governor’s Office for Children to support children and their families,” said Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention and Policy Executive Director Dorothy Lennig. 

The Governor’s Office for Crime Prevention and Policy will continue to use its data collection and reporting capabilities to inform the public and stakeholders of crime trends developing within their communities and inform policy and program solutions to reverse negative crime trends. The office will craft innovative programs to improve public safety, support law enforcement, and will continue to deliver resources to victim services providers. One of the prime goals of the office will be driving down juvenile crime.