Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law changes to child welfare legislation, which lawmakers approved last month in special session. The measures include spending millions of dollars more on the system.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

The LePage administration is relaxing certain requirements for child care providers who look after children in their own homes, while unilaterally increasing the amount of money they receive for enrolling low-income children with state-funded subsidies.

The administration says it’s overhauling the way the state treats this particular type of child care setting because it wants to reverse a long-term decline in the number of in-home child care providers and make affordable child care more widely available in rural areas.

The city of Portland has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services for withholding General Assistance payments. DHHS will pay the city of Portland the majority of the money that was withheld.

Cullen Ryan Speaks Out Against Proposed DHHS Rules Changes
Patty Wight/MPBN

Families of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are urging Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services to abandon a proposed rule change that they say would impinge on services for their loved ones.

AUGUSTA, Maine  - The state's efforts to rewrite Maine's welfare-to-work rules are drawing critique from a legal aid group.

Maine Equal Justice Partners said some of the rules proposed by the state Department of Health and Human Services conflict with state and federal law. The group is urging the state to continue allowing recipients to reject jobs that would mean less cash for their families.

The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to give individuals who will lose eligibility for certain mental health services more time to transition to other, less intensive services.

Those who receive care under what’s called section 17 had petitioned lawmakers to review a rule change by Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services that could shift up to 8,000 people to different services.

Anna Mcdougal of Wiscasset at the State House in Augusta
A.J. Higgins/MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine — Parents of adults with intellectual disabilities or autism turned out in force today to oppose a state rule change that they say would reduce the current level of state health benefits.

Maine DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew at a State House event on February 26, 2014.
MPBN File Photo

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew discusses her and the governor's priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Guest:  DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

By David Sharp, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine - The legal case in which Maine child welfare officials won the right to make medical decisions on behalf of a brain-injured baby will proceed, even though the state agency has agreed to defer to the mother's wishes.

The teenage mom's lawyer said she will continue to pursue an appeal to the Maine supreme court to overturn a do-not-resuscitate order put in place by child welfare workers.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Advocates for the low-income, elderly and disabled say they are concerned by the barriers their clients are facing getting food supplement benefits and other assistance from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Some clients report having to wait for months to get timely help. Others are finding that they must spend more than an hour on the phone to get someone at the department to answer a question. Recent administrative changes are believed to be the culprit, along with inadequate staffing.


The findings of a  federal report suggest that some of Maine's childcare facilities are dropping the ball on health and safety.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is now blocking public benefits cards from being used at ATMs in liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs. A law banning public benefit cards in these locations was signed two years ago by Gov. Paul LePage, with bipartisan support. But some Democrats and policy advocates say the LePage administration dug in its heels in implementing the law. And as Patty Wight reports, they suggest that future efforts should focus on combating poverty.