Official Says LePage's Bill Tackles Child Welfare System

Jul 10, 2018

Maine's top health and human services official says Maine's struggling child welfare system needs staffing, a new computer system and changes to mandatory reporting and family reunification policies.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton told the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee that Republican Gov. Paul LePage will propose such ideas in upcoming legislation. The governor's office didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

Maine is struggling with an uptick in alleged child abuse and neglect. Hamilton said workloads for caseworkers have spiked as call volumes increase and new policy changes require more assessments of some allegations.

A legislative watchdog agency is investigating Maine's child welfare system following the deaths of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February in Stockton Springs and 4-year-old Kendall Chick in December in Wiscasset.