Sharp Spike in Child Abuse Cases Alarms Maine Officials

Jun 16, 2014

There's been an alarming spike in the number of child abuse cases in Maine. Data provided by the state Department of Health and Human Services, in response to a request by the Maine Sunday Telegram, show a 58 percent increase in confirmed cases of physical abuse of children between 2011 and 2013 - considerably higher than the national average. The most recently available national data show a rise of just 5 percent from 2011 to 2012.

State authorities are linking the trend to a rise in the use of opiates and other drugs, a lagging economy and increased reporting of abuse.  Maine Things Considered host Tom Porter talks with Therese Cahill Low, director of the Office of Child and Family Services at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, about what the state is doing in response to the rise in child abuse cases.