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
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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