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Maine's child welfare watchdog agency is getting a boost under a new law

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Janet Mills has signed into law a bill that strengthens the Office of the Child Welfare Ombudsman following several highly publicized deaths of children in June.

The bill was one of several child welfare proposals written after the deaths of the four children.

The new law lengthens the ombudsman's tenure from one to five years and gives the ombudsman power to hire more staff, among other things.

The current ombudsman, Christine Alberi, said it'll enhance her office's independence and productiveness as it works on behalf of children.