Thursday, April 26, 2018

Maine watchdog agency delays report on state’s handling of fatal child abuse cases



The Legislature’s watchdog agency will take an additional three weeks to complete its investigation into how the state’s child protective system dealt with abuse reports of two Maine girls who were beaten to death. But the agency was able to gather the information it needs – despite concerns about state privacy laws – and will produce a report.

Beth Ashcroft, director of the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, which is examining the two abuse cases, said the original timeline to complete the report – May 2 – was too aggressive considering the myriad of legal and privacy issues they had to navigate before even receiving information from various agencies.

More >> Maine watchdog agency delays report on state’s handling of fatal child abuse cases

LePage vetoes extended funding for child abuse prevention program

Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would protect a $2.2 million child abuse prevention program that is slated to be eliminated this fall. The state’s system to protect children is under intense scrutiny after the child abuse deaths of two girls in the span of three months.

A government watchdog agency investigating the deaths is expected to release a report on May 24.

More >> LePage vetoes extended funding for child abuse prevention program

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Societal changes cost schools big in Waterville, officials say at workshop

When Eric Haley came to Waterville in 1985, there was one nurse for all the schools, there were no social workers or school resource officers on staff and the idea of hiring a psychiatrist was unheard of. 
Now, 33 years later, there is a nurse in every school, six social workers on staff and the district contracts with a psychiatrist and plans to hire one for the next school year. 
More >> Societal changes cost schools big in Waterville, officials say at workshop

In danger of sounding like a broken record, a lot of these parents who aren't at fault have no where to go.  All of the services we once had that could have helped these kids outside of school are gone.

Teen sues over detention at Long Creek, challenging Maine’s imprisonment of youths


A Skowhegan teen is asking the state’s top court to overturn his commitment to Maine’s youth prison in a case that claims the state corrections system is incapable of rehabilitating young people. 
Last October, the 16-year-old, who is called J.R. in court documents, was sentenced to incarceration at the Long Creek Youth Development Center up to the age of 18 for a series of non-violent crimes, including two charges that were dropped from felonies to misdemeanors. 
In a February appeal, the teen’s lawyer, Tina Heather Nadeau of Portland, asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to release J.R. and declare incarceration of young people for such minor crimes “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Maine and U.S. constitutions. 
The lawyer argued in a Friday court brief that her client was sent to Long Creek because the state lacks alternatives to the prison and that the juvenile court “abused” its discretion in locking up someone who was not a threat to the public. 
More >> Teen sues over detention at Long Creek, challenging Maine’s imprisonment of youths

The line in red really sums it up.  The state lacks alternatives.  That's because it's been so damn important to cut all of the alternatives that we did have under the guise of Paul LePage and Marry Mayhew's welfare reforms.  That leaves us with only the worst and most expensive options for dealing with our troubled youth. 

It's quite pathetic really.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Former U.S. senator blasts Rep. Poliquin: ‘This character from Maine’ is trying to gut fresh fruit, veggies in school



Tom Harkin of Iowa says Bruce Poliquin is so determined to push frozen blueberries from his district that it imperils the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that serves 4 million schoolchildren.

More >> Former U.S. senator blasts Rep. Poliquin: ‘This character from Maine’ is trying to gut fresh fruit, veggies in school

My daughters school participates in this program.  It benefits all the kids, not just the poor. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Child welfare computer system taken down after "suspicious traffic"

The company that runs the state's child welfare services took its entire computer network offline Monday after finding suspicious traffic on it.

In a blog post Wednesday, KVC Health Systems explained its IT team took the network down "within minutes" of spotting the problem. The outage knocked offline employees' email, applications, as well as the shared files. It even affected some phone lines.

More >> Child welfare computer system taken down after "suspicious traffic"

Sunday, April 15, 2018

DHHS reviews child abuse cases it contracted out

Maine’s child welfare program is revisiting six-and-a-half months of child abuse reports it received and referred to contractors who intervene in “lower-risk” abuse and neglect cases.


The Office of Child and Family Services earlier this month asked the four contractors who handle those lower-risk cases to comb through their records dating back to last Aug. 31 and re-report to the state many of the families whose cases they were assigned. The state would then review those cases.

More >> DHHS reviews child abuse cases it contracted out