Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Maine's CASA Program needs puppets to justify DHHS's Child Protection Scam and save money on lawyers!


Maine's DHHS needs what they call Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).   CASA Volunteers are generally brainwashed puppets who take the place of Guardian Ad Litem's in court for for free for kids who were snatched by DHHS so that DHHS doesn't have to pay lawyers to do it.  

In order to qualify, you have to be willing to believe everything the nice social worker says in light of everything else you hear from the parents and children or any of the paid system sucks such as foster parents, shrinks, special ed teachers or qualified professionals who may be supportive of the family.

People who can see through their bullshit will probably be screened out rather quickly.  

So if you're gullible and self-righteous and willing to work for free then this may be the opportunity for you.  Click on the link below for more information...

More >> Speaking for foster children: Maine CASA to hold advocate training


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Drug Abuse: you're going to pay for it one way or another


One of my biggest issues with the LePage administration was his cutting of drug treatment programs.  Here are a few links to the articles about his misguided policies on this issue.
Fortunately, we now have some good news to report on this. 
The state Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will expand access to medication-assisted addiction treatment by creating 359 new slots with a program scheduled to start next month. 
More >> Maine DHHS to create new slots for addiction treatment
Why is this important for our families?  Because drug abuse is fueling a rise in the numbers of children in the states foster care system.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services says more foster homes are needed as the drug crisis results in hundreds of children entering protective custody 
More >> State: Drug crisis fueling foster care demand
And...
The number of babies born in Maine with illicit drugs or alcohol in their systems has spiked in recent years and is now at 8 percent, or about 1 in 12, of all births, according to state statistics released Friday. 
More >> Number of drug-affected babies spikes to new height
Part of the problem is that many of the Republicans who have come into power in recent years are so opposed to anything that would have to be paid for with welfare dollars that such programs are being axed with little regard for their importance.  The mentality in Augusta is, "Why the heck should the taxpayer have to pay for other peoples poor decisions?"  But as you can see, there is a desperate need in this state to solve the issue.  Without treatment options available for everybody regardless of their ability to pay, there will be children destined to live without their families and many more are going to be born addicted (through no choice of their own) which will all cost one hell of a lot more down the road.

You're gonna pay one way or another.

Also, the rising heroin epidemic in the United States is being fueled by more factors than just personal choice.  Part of it is the over prescribing of opiate based pain killers by doctors.
Good Morning, Madam Chair and members of the Caucus.  Thank you for inviting the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to participate in this important hearing and contribute what I believe will be useful insights into the growing and intertwined problems of prescription pain relievers and heroin abuse in this country. 
More >> America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
So you figure it out.  This problem is sooner or later going to effect everybody and Maine certainly isn't alone in this nor are we in the worst shape in the country...
Nor do we want to get there.  The only way to avoid it will be to give addicts the help they need and the love and support of their communities.  So step up and make it happen.

Here's a message from Portland's Police Chief Michael Sauschuck...


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Does anybody want a new kid for Christmas??? DHHS has some!!!


Yes folks!  It's that time of year again.  The Season of Giving.  The time when you will all sit around your Christmas Trees opening presents with your families, unless your life sucks like the kids displayed on the following link here and their real parents of course.
Are you looking to add to your family?  Consider looking local.  Presently, there are 18 kids in Central Maine looking to be adopted.  Every child deserves to have a home with parents who love them and help them grow into caring productive adults.  So, if you have the extra space in your home and heart…consider adoption!   
More >> Maine Kids Looking For Forever Homes This Christmas
What the state doesn't tell you is that these kids, more likely than not, already have families who love and want them.  DHHS took them away from their parents, probably cut them off from their grandparents, aunts and uncles.  They bounced them through foster care, drugged them through the teeth to keep them quiet, then took them out for a good time so they would be all happy and bubbly for the camera.  Then they post their pictures and biography's similar to a desperate old horn dogs dating profile and talk about it like it's a good thing.

But anyway, DHHS is having their end of the year push for adoption apparently.  So if you want a new kid for Christmas, call them.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lawsuit Filed Against Maine School for the Cover-Up of a Teachers Abuse

Well this is interesting...

The story is that of a young girl from Readfield Maine who had a bag put over her head by a teacher on multiple occasions which led to her being traumatized and bullied by other students.  Even though the school launched an investigation into the incident, they figured it was no big deal.  The parents are not satisfied with this and the fact they can get no answers as to what is being done to address the situation.  They are now seeking damages and access to the documents in regards to the investigation of the incident.
A Readfield couple is suing the Maranacook school district and Laura Reville, a fifth-grade teacher at Readfield Elementary School, charging that Reville placed a bag over their daughter’s head four times during class last year, in an act aimed at humiliating and embarrassing her. 
The complaint by Michelle and Adam Woodford on behalf of their daughter, referenced by the initials SW, was filed Nov. 18 in Kennebec County Superior Court by attorneys Seth Brewster and Neal Pratt. It also charges that Regional School Unit 38 violated the state Freedom of Access Act and an anti-bullying statute in connection with results of a school investigation into the incidents. 
More >> Maranacook schools, Readfield teacher sued by parents over alleged ‘head-bagging’ incidents
All I can say is good luck with that.  The schools will ruthlessly protect their own and they will sink to unbelievable lows in order to do so.  Also, if the parents are finally granted access to the documents, they will probably be altered in favor of the teacher by the time they get them. It's not all that hard for them to do.  These are just simple forms that just have to be filled out.  The parents will never know though because they will never see them.
The complaint says that between December 2015 and March 2016, the Woodfords repeatedly requested information about the investigation into Reville’s conduct, but were refused it. 
“(The Woodfords’) requests for information included questions such as: Was the complaint involving SW handled as hazing, harassment, bullying, abuse or staff standard of conduct? Why were authorities not called?” 
It says the district’s refusal to release information violated the state law regarding bullying in public schools, and that the parents were denied a hearing before the school board. It also says attorney Smith, on behalf of the district, denied the Woodfords’ Oct. 20, 2016, request for access to documents relating to the investigation in a letter dated Oct. 26, 2016.
Eventually the whole thing will be erased from the child's narrative and the system will continue on the path of what works best for the system.  You see, the schools and their staff typically enjoy a persona of being angels among us because they work with and indoctrinate our children.  They can't have any disgruntled parents thwarting that sheepish view. Therefore they will never admit to any wrong doing, and even if they do admit to it, they can keep their documents secret anyway.  

Not to mention the fact that if the parents keep pushing it, they will be reported to Child Protective Services who will come in with concerns about "anger issues" or something as a way to strong arm them into letting it go.

Anyway, I wish this family luck in their struggle.  As a parent who has had it out with the School System on multiple occasions myself, I can sympathize with these people. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

"Here take this." More mental health services coming to Long Creek Juvenile Center


The state screwed up big time when a transgendered teenager who was being denied mental health treatment committed suicide while incarcerated at the Long Creek Juvenile Youth Development Center in South Portland.  My heart goes out to his family.

Now the mother is calling for more mental health services for these troublesome youth.
The mother of a 16-year-old transgender boy who killed himself at a Maine juvenile detention facility is calling for more mental health resources for young people behind bars. 
More >> After detainee's suicide, mom sees need for more mental care
The media and the experts are weighing in.


And the state has now agreed to review their policies for providing mental health services to kids at the facility.  The ACLU wants to make sure they are dealing with LGBT issues properly and the child welfare people will want their hands in the pot too.


So what are they going to do?  Shuffle a few positions around?   Fire those who were supposed to be watching?  Put it in the news so the people think they're on top of it?  Hire a few social workers to talk about it?  Throw more money at the problem? 

Here's my guess.  I'll bet they hire a few shrinks then increase the psychiatric medications drastically. That will keep the kids quiet and docile.  Feeling sad?  Here take some anti-depressants.  Feeling anxious?  Here's some Thorazine.  Not only will it help to keep the peace, but it will enable them to say they're providing mental health treatment.  Throw in a few anti-psychotics to help them sleep at night and problem solved.  They'll be walking around like good little zombies.

I know I know, I sound somewhat insensitive regarding people with mental illness.  But what do you think they do with them?  Give them a hug?  Please...


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kids and marijuana

I would personally think that parents would appreciate the fact that Marijuana is going to be regulated in Maine.  The reason is because pot dealers on the street aren't going to check your kids ID's.  It's easy for them to get now.  

For those who are still worried about it however, WGME 13 has some practical advice for you. 
A lot of parents are trying to figure out what's best for their kids when it comes to dealing with a world in which marijuana is legal.

More >> Kids and marijuana

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Maine receives near-failing grade for dealing with juvenile sex trafficking

This is really sad.  You would think that a state that supposedly cares so much about its children would be at the top of the list.

Shame on Maine! 
Maine deserves a near-failing rating for its laws dealing with sex trafficking of juveniles, according to a national advocacy group.

Shared Hope International, a Vancouver, Washington-based organization, on Thursday released its sixth annual Protected Innocence Challenge Report Card grading all 50 states and the District of Columbia on preventing sex trafficking of children through local legislation and gave Maine a D grade, the same rating as last year. 

More >> Maine receives near-failing grade for dealing with juvenile sex trafficking

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Suicide by transgender boy housed in girls unit at Long Creek prompts demand for review

This is an update from a story posted earlier.
I didn't think they would make any of the details public, but here we find out that the kid was "Transgendered" and locked up with kids who do not match his/her gender identity.
A transgender boy who was being held in the girls unit at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland killed himself in late October while on suicide watch, two civil rights organizations have said, raising questions about the state’s ability to care for incarcerated LGBTQ young people who are particularly vulnerable. 
Suicide by transgender boy housed in girls unit at Long Creek prompts demand for review
It is such nonsense to put all of these kids into the same pot.  Kids can be mean and some who are different will be bullied but they keep them together to avoid discriminating and bla bla bla.  I'm not going to get into my opinions on the LGBTQ issues here but clearly they need to do a little better at keeping these kids safe.

Of course the bigger issue is keeping kids safe while they are in state care.  You don't hear much about that in Maine because it's usually swept under the rug.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Spurwink Honors It's Own Cash Cow and DHHS's Favorite Shrill Himself Dr. Lawrence Ricci

I'd rather post his mugshot.
A former player for the New England Patriots, Troy Brown came to visit Portland the other day apparently to receive one of Spurwink's Humanitarian awards.  Here is the link to WGME's piece on this.
I would like to congratulate Troy Brown for this honor which did get all of the media attention even though he wasn't the only one being honored at the event.  According to the Portland Press Herald...
He was speaking to the 500 guests assembled for the Oct. 21 award ceremony honoring Bruce and Annemarie Albiston, co-founders of the Aphasia Center of Maine & the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center; Troy Brown, former New England Patriot, three-time Super Bowl champion and author; and Dr. Lawrence Ricci, medical director of Spurwink’s Child Abuse Program. 
Society Notebook: Spurwink honors humanitarians
Now I don't know what old Larry boy was being honored for, but I do know that he is a total jerk.  I know a few innocent parents who would like to honor him too but we won't get into that.  

For those who don't know, Dr. Lawrence Ricci is the head of Spurwink's Child Abuse Program.  He is the go to boy when DHHS Department of Children and Families needs a diagnosis of Child Abuse. His boss, Spurwink, also runs a few "Therapeutic" group homes and education programs around the state for special needs kids and foster kids.  

Maybe you've dealt with him?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Single Mom's are being blamed for the high rates of poverty in Maine now

Yes they are.
Of the tens of thousands of Maine children living in poverty or just above it, most are living with just one parent, usually a mother. In 2014, 69 percent of Maine’s children in poor families and 54 percent of children in low-income families were being raised by a single parent. In middle- and upper-class families, only 19 percent of the children were being raised by a single parent. The poverty level for a four-member family (two parents, two children) in the United States is set at an annual income of $24,300; low-income is defined as $48,600. 
More >> Single-parents households live in “perpetual crisis”
Of course the mom's are going to blame the fathers for not paying child support, like you will see on in the comments section of the following article.
I was/am a single mom. I left their father, a six bedroom home, three cars in the garage etc. and everything money could buy to a life of poverty (money wise) because their father would not pay child support.
Comments for: Are single parents the reason poverty is rising in Maine?
Of course it has nothing to do with her lack of employable skills or anything.

To be fair however, a lot of these gals find themselves in abusive situations and the state doesn't want to do enough to help them get back on their feet when they get out of it.  They get stuck in this vicious cycle of never being able to get ahead.  Others, however, simply need to keep their legs closed.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Juvenile dies at Long Creek detention center in South Portland

Of course they're being all secretive about it but apparently a kid has died at the Long Creek Juvenile Detention center in South Portland.


It will be interesting to see if anything more comes out of this.  Maine is great at keeping this stuff quiet.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Privatization of ASPIRE


There has been a bit of recent controversy around Governor LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew's decision to privatize Maine's ASPIRE program which is currently administered by DHHS.
ASPIRE (Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment) is a program that parents who apply for DHHS issued welfare benefits such as SNAP, Mainecare or TANF must participate in as a condition of their receiving benefits.  In theory, it is a good program with a goal of helping welfare recipients to become self-sufficient by providing them with education and job training opportunities.  In practice however, it is a waste of time for anybody who applies for the program after the first or second month of the new year when the funding runs out.  Therefore participation in the program for most is nothing more than attending a morning long orientation, filling out the paperwork only to be told there isn't enough funding for to actually get anything out of it.

Privatization of this program would essentially mean that it would be administered by a private outside organization rather than DHHS, in this case a New York City-based nonprofit called Fedcap Rehabilitation Services.

As I said before, there has been a lot of controversy around this decision.  First of all, there is a lack of transparency regarding the process of how this particular agency got the contract.  Second the chosen agency is apparently not without it's own issues including lawsuits and discrimination complaints which the critics are surely jumping on. 

While I understand the concern regarding the privatization of state services that some may have, I am not opposed to it in this particular case.   After all, in the hands of DHHS, ( a state agency known for misspending federal dollars designated for poor children as a matter of policy )  ASPIRE has been an utter failure.  Perhaps a different agency running it could prove to be more successful.  That said, the state has been privatizing child welfare services for years with millions of dollars in contracts to outside agencies such as Opportunity Alliance, Youth Alternatives or Spurwink just to name a few.  Some of these contracts have proven to be successful.  Some have not.  

The fact is that privatization of social service and child welfare programs is nothing new in around here.  I'm sure there are at least one or two agencies right here in Maine that would be just as well suited for the job and that the state already has experience in dealing with.      

I do take issue with the secrecy around granting these contracts that the LePage administration tends to practice.  I think that the people of Maine have the right to know where their money is going.      

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

LePage Says He's Giving Up on Education Reform Panel

Governor LePage is pitching a fit again.  
Gov. Paul LePage says he has given up on a special commission designed to recommend improvements to Maine’s public education system because the panel cannot meet in private. 
More >> LePage Says He's Giving Up on Education Reform Panel
To tell you the truth, I would not trust any governor with the control of my children's education behind closed doors and Governor LePage is no exception.  I have been at odds with a lot of his policies regarding our children, but that will be for another post.

God only knows what he would come up with.  All meetings should be open and all parents should be notified of such meetings and be able to offer input regarding the the way things are done.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The LePage Administration Favors Destroying Families Over Helping Children


It's no secret that the LePage administration has little sympathy for families who are struggling to make ends meet.  Here are the links to two recent news articles that discuss this...   
So it seems that our Governor Paul LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew have been denying help to families in need while leaving millions in the bank and reallocating federal funding specifically designated by law for children to programs that help the elderly.  

Taking that into consideration, it's also no secret that our Governor has been on the warpath recently against drug abusers and dealers, while taking aim at the ever growing need for drug treatment programs by doing everything in his power to destroy some of the available options by pulling funding or changing the rules so that treatment will be much harder to get...  
  • Advocates say new DHHS draft rules could shutter Maine drug treatment clinics
These are just two examples of ways that the current administration is denying help to needy families, but when you put these issues together: for example a heroin epidemic, lack of treatment programs, hungry kids living in poverty, our children suffer and that's even more unacceptable.  So instead of helping the families to get it right they simply send out the nice social workers who take the kids away and leave the parents to deal with it themselves...
Now, regarding what was written in the above article, it's wonderful that Commissioner Mayhew is once again showing her fake heartwarming concern for the children by allowing her cronies to rip them from their homes while trying to find them new ones and everything.  This isn't the first time she's engaged in foster parent recruitment.  The cost of this, however, is significantly more than the alternative which is to provide the help and services that help the parents overcome the problems?   Maine has experienced successes with programs like "Family Treatment Drug Court" in the past...  
There are also similar successful programs that we could look at from other states for new ideas...
Because often times they are successful and when they are, these are the best possible outcomes for the kids.  It was those types of services that led to Maine's being a "National Model Child Welfare System" as little as 5 years ago, thanks to the previous administration...
Foster care is not a good situation for a child to grow up.  I hate to be the one to have to enlighten you, but if a parent gets hooked or can't put food on the table, that's what will eventually happen.  I realize that many of you may think that it's perfectly acceptable to remove a kid from their parents because one got hooked on opiates or because a family can't take care of a kid and if the kid is truly in danger then so be it, but then what?  Do we bounce the kid through the system?  From home to home?  Throw him into a group home?  Maybe we can adopt them out to a loving family if they're lucky, right?  Fat chance for some kids.  

I also realize that many of you don't like TANF or the various welfare programs that help to lift a family up because of the cost to the taxpayer, but when the money comes in from the fed's, that money should be allocated to solving problems caused by child poverty because that's what helps the kids.  AS for the 10% of funding that can be relocated to programs that help kids, parental drug treatment programs would be a much better option than services for the elderly, I'm not saying that the elderly don't need or deserve the help either, but that's simply not what this specific federal funding is for.  That money will have to come from someplace else.
  
Governor LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew really need to get their priorities straight, either that or LePage should fire Mayhew and hand the reigns over to somebody with half a clue and somewhat of a heart.  After all, shouldn't compassion be a quality in a DHHS Commissioner?  

    Friday, July 22, 2016

    Former Biddeford police officer denies sexual abuse allegations


    The former Biddeford police officer accused of sexually abusing a teenager denies the allegation and says accuser Matt Lauzon is telling “a deliberate lie.”

    More >> Former Biddeford police officer denies sexual abuse allegations

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    Superintendents essentially plead for education commissioner. Too bad, LePage says.

    Maine law requires the state to have a commissioner of the Department of Education. However, the department’s top job has not officially been filled for nearly two years. Frustrated by a lack of clarity and guidance on issues ranging from student testing to school funding, superintendents wrote to Gov. Paul LePage to encourage him to appoint a permanent education commissioner.

    The governor’s response: I have who I want running the department, and he’ll stay there until I leave office. The problem is that his choice, Bill Beardsley, isn’t the commissioner because LePage refuses to follow the requirements outlined in state law. More troubling, last week LePage stepped in to deny a lawmaker’s request for information from the department.

    More >> Superintendents essentially plead for education commissioner. Too bad, LePage says.

    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    Former Naples school teacher pleads guilty to sexually touching student

    A former Lake Regional Middle School teacher will face a year of administrative probation, after she pleaded guilty Wednesday at the Oxford County courthouse to having sexual contact with a student.

    More >> Former Naples school teacher pleads guilty to sexually touching student

    Need for Foster Parents Rises As LePage Cuts Services To Families While Drug Epidemic Grows

    “These children need foster families, adoptive families and kinship families that are ready and willing to open their heart and homes to them,” says Mary Mayhew, Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.

    More >> Need for Foster Parents Rises As Drug Epidemic Grows

    Wednesday, July 6, 2016

    More Maine children live in poverty, fewer get help. We should expect the opposite.

    Ensuring Maine’s prosperous future begins with making sure our youngest residents have the opportunities that promote healthy development. Unfortunately, the Bangor Daily News reported recently that federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds, which are intended to help low-income families with children, may have been redirected to programs for the elderly. If this is the case, officials from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services have made it more difficult for working families to get out and stay out of poverty. While funding services for elderly and disabled Mainers is important, it is critical that federal TANF dollars be used for their statutorily mandated purpose under federal law, which is to “provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes.”

    More >> More Maine children live in poverty, fewer get help. We should expect the opposite.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2016

    Maine diverted millions in welfare funds, and Mary Mayhew’s defense is absurd

    A BDN report published last week showing that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services improperly redirected at least $7.8 million in federal welfare funds meant for children and families to pay for services for elderly and disabled adults drew a sharp rebuke from Mary Mayhew, the department’s commissioner.

    More >> Maine diverted millions in welfare funds, and Mary Mayhew’s defense is absurd

    Monday, June 20, 2016

    Shame on Dawn Kenniston, the Principal of Hall School in Portland



    A Portland elementary school principal has been charged with one count of Operating under the Influence.

    More >> Portland elementary school principal charged with OUI

    Pediatricians Call For More Testing And Tighter Rules On Lead Exposure

    When lead was taken out of products like paint and gasoline, levels of the metal in the blood of U.S. children dropped. But the American Academy of Pediatrics says the problem is not over.

    More >> Pediatricians Call For More Testing And Tighter Rules On Lead Exposure

    Incoming Portland schools chief faces depleted leadership team

    It's good that Portland is getting a new Superintendent, and I actually liked the last one though.  I hope this one cleans up the mess.

    Stability was a top priority in hiring Xavier Botana, the district's sixth superintendent in nine years, as three other administrators take their leave. 
    More >> Incoming Portland schools chief faces depleted leadership team

    Saturday, June 18, 2016

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016

    Tobacco rules changes proposed for schools in Augusta

    A school board committee agreed Monday to propose altering Augusta schools’ tobacco rules to make a program of education, counseling and an alternative to suspension the first options over suspension from school for students caught using or possessing tobacco, but spurned one board member’s efforts to reduce the maximum punishment for a first offense from three days of suspension to one.

    More >> Tobacco rules changes proposed for schools in Augusta

    Bikers work to end Child Abuse in Maine

    Every year millions of children are abused in the United States. Many don’t know where to turn when the abuse happens but in Maine, help may now be just a motorcycle ride away.

    More >> Bikers work to end Child Abuse in Maine


    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    Cony High School investigates offensive Twitter post

    Cony High School officials are investigating an offensive remark posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning from an account that erroneously appears to be affiliated with the school’s athletic department.

    More >> Cony High School investigates offensive Twitter post

    Monday, May 30, 2016

    Can Maine make schools better by raising income tax on high earners?

    One area where politicians of all stripes can usually find common ground is supporting schools, but this November’s Stand Up for Students referendum is an exception.

    More >> Can Maine make schools better by raising income tax on high earners?

    New Maine midwifery rules reflect licensure drive around US

    Maine's midwives will face a new set of rules designed to make homebirth safer as a result of a bill that reflects changes to the profession around the country.

    More >> New Maine midwifery rules reflect licensure drive around US

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Cleanup of lead paint in Lewiston/Auburn could last into July

    The federal Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that its effort to clean up lead paint in the Lewiston-Auburn area of Maine could stretch into July.

    More >> Cleanup of lead paint in Lewiston/Auburn could last into July

    And yes they will be coming into your home.

    Biddeford high, tech schools canceled Thursday because of threat

    A student told school officials about the potential threat around 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the Biddeford School Department.

    More >> Biddeford high, tech schools canceled Thursday because of threat

    Nearly A Dozen States Sue U.S. Government Over Transgender Policies

    The plaintiffs include Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, the governor of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education.

    More >> Nearly A Dozen States Sue U.S. Government Over Transgender Policies

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Ayla Reynolds case takes new turn

    One of the adults in the home the night before Waterville toddler Ayla Reynolds was reported missing gave a television interview to a syndicated crime show.

    More >> Ayla Reynolds case takes new turn

    Portland lawmakers ask LePage to apologize to Deering High School

    Republican Gov. Paul LePage declined Monday to apologize for comments he made about a Deering High School student repeatedly being treated with the heroin antidote Narcan.

    More >> Portland lawmakers ask LePage to apologize to Deering High School

    Maine Schools Dismiss iPads As 'Toys,' Ready MacBooks Instead

    Apple has long pushed for iPads in schools, but it appears that at least in one area of the country, it’s failing class.

    More >> Maine Schools Dismiss iPads As 'Toys,' Ready MacBooks Instead

    Kidnapping scammer targets another Maine parent

    A midcoast man received a phone call on Monday from someone claiming to have kidnapped his child and demanding money, the second time such an incident has been reported in the area within 10 days.

    More >> Kidnapping scammer targets another Maine parent

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    Ayla Reynolds’ family plans to sue caretakers

    Ayla Reynolds
    Ayla Reynolds

    The family of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds plans to bring a lawsuit against the adults who were with her on the night she disappeared in December 2011, but one of those adults said in a TV interview Monday they believe the child is still alive “out there somewhere.”

    More >> Ayla Reynolds’ family plans to sue caretakers

    Portland police chief says LePage mistaken about overdose claim at Deering High

    Michael Sauschuck says the incident that LePage uses to oppose more access to Narcan involved a non-student at Deering Oaks, and lawmakers want an apology.

    More >> Portland police chief says LePage mistaken about overdose claim at Deering High

    Regulations Drive Up Cost of Child Care in Maine

    For many families with young children, especially single-parent households, child care is critical to being able work and earn a living. In 2015, an estimated 53,000 young children in Maine needed child care services outside the home. The availability of affordable child care often influences the decision to seek employment or rely on welfare.

    More >> Regulations Drive Up Cost of Child Care in Maine

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Schools should protect bathroom privacy

    Way back some 30 years ago, when I learned that collegians taking part in Outward Bound’s multi-day open longboat rowing adventure off Hurricane Island had to relieve themselves by hanging their private parts over the gunwale in the not-so-private presence of mixed genders, I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty invasive and not private.”

     More >> Schools should protect bathroom privacy

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    EPA targeting Lewiston-Auburn to enforce lead paint removal rules

    Starting next month, the federal Environmental Protection Agency will go after contractors in the Lewiston-Auburn area who aren’t following legal requirements for safely removing lead paint from residences, schools and other buildings.

    More >> EPA targeting Lewiston-Auburn to enforce lead paint removal rules

    Our View: Stopping teen OUI deaths should start at home

    For teenagers and their families, spring is synonymous with events commemorating life’s milestones. And the biggest celebrations center on prom night and high school graduation. But the memories of these happy occasions can be irrevocably marked when a teenager is killed in an alcohol-related car crash. Efforts to prevent such tragedies should start long before senior year, when parents model and discuss the attitudes and behaviors toward alcohol that will help their children stay happy and healthy for decades to come.

    More >> Our View: Stopping teen OUI deaths should start at home

    Scam Alert: Need for foster parents for stolen babies in Maine reaches ‘crisis’ level

    The only reason it has become a crisis is because the state, under LePage, cut off many of the services that helped to keep the kids safe in the home.

    Oh, and I tried to comment on the first article, and although I used no bad words at all, it was flagged and probably won't go through.  All I said was that "becoming a foster parent in Maine was like letting a vampire into your house because the state will suck the life right out of you."

    May has been designated as national Foster Care Recognition Month, and Peter Crovo of Community Health and Counseling of Houlton is hoping to raise awareness for the dire need of foster families in the state.

    More >> Need for foster parents in Maine reaches ‘crisis’ level




    Embattled Superintendent Resigns Amid Nepotism Complaints

    Embattled SAD 6 Superintendent Frank Sherburne resigned Monday night after weeks of heavy criticism over apparent nepotism violations.

    More >> Embattled Superintendent Resigns Amid Nepotism Complaints

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Teachers, residents say ‘the trust has been violated’ in SAD 6

    Many residents of the five small towns that make up the school district are frustrated and angry about nepotism issues focused on Superintendent Frank Sherburne.


    More >> Teachers, residents say ‘the trust has been violated’ in SAD 6



    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Lewiston-Auburn expands fight against poisoning from lead paint

    Shilo Mathieu is on the front lines in America’s decades-long struggle to protect children from lead poisoning. And what she has been seeing recently in this city known for its lead paint problem is both heartening and foreboding.

    More >> Lewiston-Auburn expands fight against poisoning from lead paint

    A Maine campaign against child hunger is providing grants to six school districts to help with plans to get food to kids

    A Maine campaign against child hunger is providing grants to six school districts to help with plans to get food to kids.

    More >> A Maine campaign against child hunger is providing grants to six school districts to help with plans to get food to kids

    Saturday, May 14, 2016

    Siblings create Maine camp for kids surviving a loved one’s suicide

    Lost. That’s how Sydney, Morgan and Isaiah Mosher felt in 2002 when their father took his own life. The siblings, who grew up in North Berwick, were devastated but suffered in silence, not knowing how to start the healing process.

    More >> Siblings create Maine camp for kids surviving a loved one’s suicide

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    MSAD 6, MSAD 55 could lose state funding over credential violation, association says

    Fewer than 24 hours after the MSAD 6 school board found that its superintendent violated the district's nepotism policy, the state's largest teachers and support staff association is expressing concern that the district could lose state funding.

    More >> MSAD 6, MSAD 55 could lose state funding over credential violation, association says

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Portland voters approve $103.6 million education budget

    Portland voters on Tuesday approved the proposed $103.6 million education budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

    More >> Portland voters approve $103.6 million education budget

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Monday, May 9, 2016

    Maine student sexting leads to call for strict iPad policy

    School officials in Sanford, Maine, will meet Tuesday after a group of parents alerted them to students’ inappropriate use of school-issued iPads.

    More >> Maine student sexting leads to call for strict iPad policy

    Sunday, May 8, 2016

    Substitute teacher arrested on sex charges involving student


    An Edgecomb man who worked as a substitute teacher at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro was arrested Friday night on charges he allegedly exchanged sexually explicit photos with a student.

    More >> Substitute teacher arrested on sex charges involving student

    Portland superintendent rejects LePage’s story of Deering High student overdosing 3 times

    Portland’s acting superintendent is disputing Gov. Paul LePage’s contention that a Deering High School student overdosed and was revived with the drug naloxone three times in a week, and went to class after being revived for the third time.

     More >> Portland superintendent rejects LePage’s story of Deering High student overdosing 3 times

    Saturday, May 7, 2016

    Friday, May 6, 2016

    Bangor police charge 12-year-old boy with stealing school bus

    Bangor police say a 12-year-old boy who stole a school bus has been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving without a license.

    More >> Bangor police charge 12-year-old boy with stealing school bus

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016

    Gardiner police investigate sexting report at Gardiner Area High School

    Gardiner police have seized cellphones as part of an ongoing investigation into a report of sexting — sending sexually explicit photos or email on cellphones — among students at Gardiner Area High School.

    More >> Gardiner police investigate sexting report at Gardiner Area High School

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    Heck: LePage, lawmakers take votes hinder early childhood development

    According to the headline in Sunday paper’s, experts believe Gov. Paul LePage has reached a “new level of frustration” (“Worst week ever for LePage?” May 1).

    More >> Heck: LePage, lawmakers take votes hinder early childhood development

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    The dangers of keeping parents behind bars when it’s unnecessary

    Among New England states, Maine has a dubious distinction: It has the highest percentage of children with a parent in jail. These children are more likely to struggle in school and to go without food and medical care.


    More >> The dangers of keeping parents behind bars when it’s unnecessary

    Will Congress leave poor Maine kids hungry?

    Congress assumed correctly that if more than 40% of students in a school automatically qualified for free or reduced lunch, there were likely a lot more hungry kids besides those enrolled in the program. And in 2014, under the community eligibility provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, nutritious meals became available to all children in those high-poverty schools. This not only fed more hungry children, it eliminated the stigma that only poor kids get free meals.

    More >> Will Congress leave poor Maine kids hungry?

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    LePage Vetoes Bill to License, Regulate Maine Midwives

    Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a measure that would license and regulate midwives, claiming the bill is unnecessary, represents an expansion of government and could become an unfunded mandate in the future.

    More >> LePage Vetoes Bill to License, Regulate Maine Midwives

    Thousands removed from Maine Sex Offender Registry

    Thousands of convicted Maine sex offenders have been removed from the state's registry before their sentences ended.

    More >> Thousands removed from Maine Sex Offender Registry

    Caregivers say DHHS cuts would be detrimental to children's programming

    Mental health providers said that Department of Health and Human Services cuts would be detrimental to children's programming.

    More >> Caregivers say DHHS cuts would be detrimental to children's programming

    LePage’s education chief wants fair system for poorer districts

    Bill Beardsley, Gov. Paul LePage’s point man on education reform, said Wednesday that his goal over the next couple of years is to finally make progress on issues that have baffled and defeated policymakers for decades.

    More >> LePage’s education chief wants fair system for poorer districts

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    Bill Beardsely wants to equalize educational opportunities

    Bill Beardsley, Gov. Paul LePage’s point man on education reform, said Wednesday that his goal over the next couple of years is to finally make progress on issues that have baffled and defeated policymakers for decades.

    More >> Bill Beardsely wants to equalize educational opportunities

    Cheverus High School evacuated after threat

    Students and staff at Cheverus High School in Portland were evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a threat was found written on bathroom wall inside the school.

    More >> Cheverus High School evacuated after threat

    Brunswick school custodian charged with unlawful sexual touching of girl, 16

    The alleged victim is not a student in the district, and the custodian, Earl Ater, 59, was put on paid leave after being charged March 31.

    More >> Brunswick school custodian charged with unlawful sexual touching of girl, 16

    LePage Says He's Withdrawing Executive Branch from Education Group

    Gov. Paul LePage has responded to yesterday's complaints that he held an illegal, private meeting with a blue-ribbon commission on education.

    More >> LePage Says He's Withdrawing Executive Branch from Education Group

    Report: 8 percent of Maine children have parent in prison

    Nearly 1 in 12 Maine children have a parent who has served time in prison or jail. That is above the national average and the highest rate in New England, according to a report out Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    More >> Report: 8 percent of Maine children have parent in prison



    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    Proposal to raise age to 21 to buy tobacco in Portland moves ahead

    Portland City Council has unanimously voted to authorize its Health and Human Services Committee to draft an ordinance that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco in the city.

    More >> Proposal to raise age to 21 to buy tobacco in Portland moves ahead

    Note: Portland's moral superiority is showing again.

    Help wanted: Maine’s school administrators struggle to find coaches

    The number of sports programs has grown in the state, while the ranks of teachers willing to coach have fallen.

    More >> Help wanted: Maine’s school administrators struggle to find coaches

    Attorney General’s Office: LePage broke law by holding private meeting of education task force

    The LePage administration violated Maine’s open meeting law Monday by holding the first meeting of a “blue ribbon” commission on education funding behind closed doors, the Attorney General’s Office said.

    More >> Attorney General’s Office: LePage broke law by holding private meeting of education task force
    -----
    Good morning from Augusta, where Gov. Paul LePage’s blue ribbon commission to study education funding and performance in Maine is gathered for its inaugural meeting at the Blaine House.

    More >> LePage’s task force to fix Maine schools starts in secret


    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Forecaster Forum: Parents' perspective on the addiction crisis: A call for care, compassion

    Addiction to opiates has reached epidemic proportions in Maine. This crisis extends beyond the suffering experienced by individuals, into the heart of our communities. It demands a comprehensive approach that increases access to and integrates mental, behavioral, physical, and social health.

    More >> Forecaster Forum: Parents' perspective on the addiction crisis: A call for care, compassion

    Sunday, April 24, 2016

    Maine moms cope with addiction, raising a family

    For several years, a rural family practice in Bridgton has quietly been offering treatment and support for pregnant women and mothers addicted to heroin and other drugs.

    More >> Maine moms cope with addiction, raising a family

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Maine Families program reduces child abuse and neglect

    Editors Note: Warning - This article contains lots of pro-DHHS fluff.

    As Maine turns the page toward spring and begins to enjoy all that the new season brings in our beautiful state, we would like to remind everyone that April is also “Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month,” a time nationally designated to highlight the dangers facing vulnerable children and the ever-pressing need to protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

    More >> Maine Families program reduces child abuse and neglect

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Cape Elizabeth school intruder arrested again


    Nathanael Lavallee, 25, who was arrested at Cape Elizabeth Middle School last month after unlawfully entering all three of the town’s schools, was arrested again on April 3, according to the police department.

    More >> Cape Elizabeth school intruder arrested again

    Portland-area school group in Ecuador OK after earthquake

    A group from the Greater Portland Christian School is safe in Ecuador after a devastating earthquake, but finding a way home is proving to be difficult.

    More >> Portland-area school group in Ecuador OK after earthquake

    School funding bill would help towns that lose major employer

    A last-minute bill to change Maine’s school funding formula to help struggling mill towns was amended amid confusion and urban-rural divide by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night.

    More >> School funding bill would help towns that lose major employer

    LePage signs order that keeps embattled education chief in office

    Gov. Paul LePage is following through on his plan to install the state’s education chief while bypassing the legislative confirmation process.

    More >> LePage signs order that keeps embattled education chief in office

    Maine student whines after teachers mock his Trump hat: ‘This is a school that preaches equality’

    A Maine teenager complained his rights were violated after teachers and other students mocked him for wearing a Donald Trump hat to school.

    More >> Maine student whines after teachers mock his Trump hat: ‘This is a school that preaches equality’

    Will Maine step backward on foster care?

    When Congress and the Clinton Administration ended “welfare as we know it” in 1996, they replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. As families were removed from the welfare rolls, states were allowed to keep any “surplus” that resulted. But the surplus funds were supposed to go toward helping poor families become self-sufficient.

    More >> Will Maine step backward on foster care?

    Foster parents train in Augusta

    The Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine, Inc. held its 19th annual spring conference in Augusta to train foster parents how to best parent children who have gone through the trauma of being separated from their families.

    More >> Foster parents train in Augusta


    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    Senate Enacts Bill to Give Budget Stability to School Districts

    The Maine Senate on Thursday enacted bill to give budget stability and predictability to school districts. The bill now goes to Gov. Paul LePage to become law or be vetoed.

    More >> Senate Enacts Bill to Give Budget Stability to School Districts

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    LePage admin skims welfare dollars as extreme child poverty surges

    Bangor Daily News columnist David Farmer is on a roll. After exposing a new attack on Maine’s human rights laws protecting gay, lesbian and transgender Mainers last week, this week he laid bare just how badly Governor Paul LePage and his administration are failing poor children through cuts to public assistance. The state has now amassed a $110 million surplus in federal funds that should have been spent helping families climb out of poverty.

    More >> LePage admin skims welfare dollars as extreme child poverty surges

    Maine to Get $6M to Help Expand Home Visits for Moms and Kids

    The federal Health Resources and Services Administration is giving nearly $6 million to Maine in support of home visits for mothers and infants.

    More >> Maine to Get $6M to Help Expand Home Visits for Moms and Kids

    Winslow student charged with writing, reporting bomb threat


    Police said a student who reported a bomb threat on a bathroom wall at Winslow High School was also the person who wrote it, sparking an evacuation.

    More >> Winslow student charged with writing, reporting bomb threat

    Carthage man accused of possessing pornography of young girls



    A local man is accused of possessing thousands of sexually explicit images of young girls on his home computer, according to police.

    More >> Carthage man accused of possessing pornography of young girls

    Bill lifting the cap on student sex assault victims enacted by Maine Senate

    A bill that would lift the age cap on victims of sex crimes when the victim is a student and the accused is an educator now awaits the signature of Gov. Paul LePage after it was passed Friday by the Senate.

    More >> Bill lifting the cap on student sex assault victims enacted by Maine Senate

    Former Berwick Academy teacher sentenced for taking ‘up-skirt’ videos

    A former Berwick Academy teacher will spend 30 days in jail for surreptitiously videotaping female students and downloading the images onto a school computer.

    More >> Former Berwick Academy teacher sentenced for taking ‘up-skirt’ videos

    Teachers union survey blasts Maine’s new standardized tests

    As students wrap up the first year of testing under the new Maine Educational Assessment (MEA), Maine’s teachers union on Monday released survey results that are strongly critical of the standardized exams.

    More >> Teachers union survey blasts Maine’s new standardized tests




    Maine Senate, House overrides LePage veto of bill to help cold case families

    The Maine Senate on Monday voted unanimously to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of LD 1605, “An Act to Extend the Time for Commencing an Action Relating to Death Caused by Homicide.”

    More >> Maine Senate, House overrides LePage veto of bill to help cold case families

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    Portland considers raising age for buying tobacco to 21

    Portland may raise the legal age for buying tobacco products within the city from 18 to 21.

    More >> Portland considers raising age for buying tobacco to 21

    New approach reduced Maine Youth Center population

    Like the rest of the nation, Maine's incarceration rate at prisons and jails has spiked.

    More >> New approach reduced Maine Youth Center population

    9 schools in rural Maine have elevated lead levels

    Nine schools- all located in rural Maine - have unsafe drinking water because of high levels of lead.

    More >> 9 schools in rural Maine have elevated lead levels

    Student says faculty mocked his Donald Trump hat

    A Maine high school student says he was ridiculed by faculty members when he wore a red baseball cap bearing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign slogan.

    More >> Student says faculty mocked his Donald Trump hat




    Saturday, April 9, 2016

    Maine’s fingerprint refusal opens child care centers to people who have harmed children

    Caregivers in Maine’s early childhood programs play a critical role in a child’s development by providing them with the essential stable, nurturing relationships and experiences that build a strong foundation for their future. Parents and families place trust in their child care providers to provide a healthy and safe environment for their child to grow and develop.

    More >> Maine’s fingerprint refusal opens child care centers to people who have harmed children

    Families worried DHHS cuts could leave thousands of Maine autistic children in lurch

    A legislative committee voted Thursday to move forward with a bill that would seek a moratorium on rule changes that could cut millions of dollars to agencies that provide services to children with autism and their families.

    More >> Families worried DHHS cuts could leave thousands of Maine autistic children in lurch


    Maine considers bill to ensure safety of home births

    The Maine Senate is considering a bill that would regulate home births in an attempt to ensure that they are safe.

    More >> Maine considers bill to ensure safety of home births

    Our View: Maine’s homeschooling laws don’t make the grade

    How and where their children will be educated is one of the more significant decisions that parents make on their children’s behalf. And an increasing number of parents in Maine are opting to teach their children at home.

    More >> Our View: Maine’s homeschooling laws don’t make the grade

    Friday, April 8, 2016

    Student makes Twitter threat against Maine high school

    A Windham student is suspended from school after allegedly posting a threatening social media post.

    More >> Student makes Twitter threat against Maine high school




    High school students in three Maine towns may get to sleep in

    High school students in three York County communities would get to sleep in longer under a plan that would change school start times.

    More >> High school students in three Maine towns may get to sleep in

    April named Child Abuse Prevention Month in Maine

    According to the Maine Children's Trust, more than 3,200 children were neglected or abused last year in Maine.

    More >> April named Child Abuse Prevention Month in Maine

    Maine Charter School Commission member resigns because of conflict

    Ande Smith, a member of both the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine Charter School Commission, has resigned from the commission because only three commissioners can serve on the education board at the same time.

    More >> Maine Charter School Commission member resigns because of conflict

    Bill directing DHHS to implement child care worker fingerprinting advances

    The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Monday to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop rules that comply with federal fingerprinting and background check laws for child care workers.

    More >> Bill directing DHHS to implement child care worker fingerprinting advances

    Maine Senate OKs bill targeting hunger

    The Maine Senate has given initial approval to a proposal designed to improve administration of federal rules so hungry children and seniors in the state can get access to nutritious food.

    More >> Maine Senate OKs bill targeting hunger

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    LePage decides to ignore the law on child care safety

    On page 150 of a 205-page state document prepared for the federal government is a 21-word example of the LePage administration’s willingness to sacrifice federal funding and children’s well-being in order to achieve some political end.

    More >> LePage decides to ignore the law on child care safety

    Portland voters to decide whether to build new elementary school

    Portland voters will decide on Tuesday whether to approve funding to build a new elementary school.

    More >> Portland voters to decide whether to build new elementary school

    Monday, April 4, 2016

    Lewiston school budget vote Monday; carryover, homestead keeping taxes down

    The School Committee will vote on the proposed $68.8 million budget for 2016-17 on Monday, April 4.

    More >> Lewiston school budget vote Monday; carryover, homestead keeping taxes down

    Maine Voices: School bell should toll at a later opening time for teen students

    It is rare that we as a community have an opportunity to make a true, meaningful impact on the daily lives of thousands of children with one decision. The school boards of Biddeford, Saco and Dayton will be faced with such a decision in an unprecedented joint school board meeting Wednesday. Following more than a year of advocacy led by the southern Maine chapters of Start School Later, the school boards will vote simultaneously on academic calendar proposals that include later starting bell times for teen students.

    More >> Maine Voices: School bell should toll at a later opening time for teen students

    House passes legislation allowing families to sue DHHS

    York County parents moved one step closer Friday to gaining the right to sue the Department of Health and Human Services over abuses at the Sunshine Child Care and Preschool in Lyman.

    More >> House passes legislation allowing families to sue DHHS

    Sabattus man sentenced in child porn case


    A Sabattus man will spend the next 11 years in federal prison for receiving child pornography over the Internet.

    More >> Sabattus man sentenced in child porn case

    Maine parents embracing the lessons of homeschooling

    Driven in large part by conservative Christians and by others resistant 
to 'industrialized' education, what had been an unconventional choice for many parents in Maine and the nation has progressively moved into the mainstream.

    More >> Maine parents embracing the lessons of homeschooling

    Saturday, April 2, 2016

    Missing Westbrook teen found safe

    Westbrook police a 14-year-old boy who was last seen Thursday night has been found safe.

    More >> Missing Westbrook teen found safe

    Friday, April 1, 2016

    Thursday, March 31, 2016

    Maine school employees’ tax info sent to email scammer

    An employee in the Brunswick School Department’s administrative office Monday responded to what turned out to be a phishing scam, emailing to the scammer tax forms, minus dates of birth and Social Security numbers, from about 400 school department employees.

    More >> Maine school employees’ tax info sent to email scammer

    Second man sues former Biddeford police officer accused of abusing boys

    A second man has sued a former Biddeford police officer accused of sexually assaulting multiple teenage boys while working for the city.

    More >> Second man sues former Biddeford police officer accused of abusing boys

    Wednesday, March 30, 2016

    Maine House Allows Veto Of Swift Evaluations For Foster Kids

    The Maine House has voted to sustain a veto of a bill designed to provide faster medical evaluations for children who are entering state custody.

    More >> Maine House Allows Veto Of Swift Evaluations For Foster Kids

    Survey: Auburn teachers don't feel appreciated

    When it comes to education changes, a recent survey of Auburn teachers shows a majority of those responding think the School Department is heading in the wrong direction.

    More >> Survey: Auburn teachers don't feel appreciated