Child protective workers in Maine have too many cases, are lacking in available services and are hampered by an archaic computer case management system; that is the thrust of a report issued Friday to the legislature’s Government Oversight Committee.
State Senator Justin Chenette of Saco co-chairs the committee.
“What we heard from frontline workers over and over again was very simple: we are overworked and overwhelmed, and so that does impact the quality of work to protect children of the state of Maine,” Chenette says.
Last fall, lawmakers in a special session appropriated over $22 million to improve the state’s child protective system in the wake of the death of two children, allegedly at the hands of their parents. Most of the prescribed improvements have yet to be made, except for higher pay for workers and supervisors, which appears to have bolstered recruitment and retention efforts.
“So we got some experienced people back in, but we also heard pretty predominantly though it was the stress of the job, the hours of the job and what it did to the whole family,” says State Sen. Jeff Timberlake, of Turner.