Monday, February 20, 2017

Bill Would Provide Mainers With Free Day Care and Home Health Services

Progressive lawmakers and caregiving advocates launched a campaign Monday to establish a Universal Family Care System in Maine. If approved by the Legislature, the system would provide childcare and home care services for all children, seniors and individuals with disabilities, regardless of income.

More >> Bill Would Provide Mainers With Free Day Care and Home Health Services

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Maine's DHHS is ignoring their own failures

Why must I keep saying this?

As of this morning, pretty much every News Media Outlet in Maine is carrying the heartbreaking story which claims that DHHS is snatching more children due to "Parental Drug Abuse."
Here's the story from WMTW News 8 >> Drug abuse sending more kids to state custody 
Here it is from WPOR >>  Drug Abuse Sending More Kids to State Custody
We can't leave out the Propaganda Press Herald's version either >>  Parents’ drug abuse blamed as more Maine children removed from homes
They're posting the story as if it's a sudden realization.  It's like, "Oh my God, how did this happen?  This is horrible!  What are we going to do?"

Of course, Maine isn't the only state struggling with this issue.  In fact, it's a major epidemic all across the country.  
The nation’s drug-addiction epidemic is driving a dramatic increase in the number of children entering foster care, forcing many states to take urgent steps to care for neglected children.
More >> Drug-Addiction Epidemic Creates Crisis in Foster Care
What really amazes me that this REOCCURRING TALE keeps coming up as a newly presented major story in Maine, every so often since about 2012.  For example, here's a Bangor Daily News article from October of 2012 when Bath Salts were all the rage.  >> Parents’ bath salts abuse sends more children to state custody

They couldn't believe it then either.  It was like, "Oh my God!  How did this happen?"

Of course DHHS knows full well what's going on and has for a long time.
If the demand for and cost of foster care in Maine spiked this fiscal year because of drug abuse among young parents, it’s doubtful that child welfare workers were surprised by it. 
Experts in the field say the impact of parental drug use has been visible and mounting for years. 
From an article in the Portland Press Herald from March of 2013 >> Poor planning adds to Maine’s foster care crisis
And this is where I have to stop and get real, because only two years before the above mentioned article came out, Maine was bragging about their National Model Child Welfare System, and how they were "leaders at keeping kids safe in the home."  

The success that DHHS was able to celebrate as late as January of 2011, was significant, including drastically cutting the number of children being removed from their homes in the first place and when they did have to be removed, relying more on kinship placements such as a grandparent or an aunt or even the biological father when they were able.  In doing so, they cut the number of kids in foster care in half over decade beginning with a wave of attention brought to Maine's Child Welfare system after the death of a five year old foster child named Logan Marr who was murdered in January of 2001.
So they know what works. They know how to improve their numbers.  They know how to get the kids back home and they know how to work with the families that have drug dependency issues so that many of these kids can go home.

Here is a part of a letter from Dean Crocker, Maine's Children's Ombudsman to the National Coalition for Child Welfare Reform...
As you have noted, it is in the best interest of a child to keep him/her in the home and with the family whenever possible and safe to do so. Caseworkers now emphasize this goal as they work closely with families, ensuring they receive the supports and services necessary to keep the child safe and the family intact. Reducing the rate of children who are placed in state care or custody has been a significant achievement of our program. In December 2004, there were 2,590 Maine children in DHHS state care or custody. In December 2009, the number in care or custody dropped to 1,650. During this time period, Maine saw a 38.3 percent decrease in the rate of children in DHHS care or custody.
Notice what it says?  "work closely with families, ensuring they receive the supports and services necessary to keep the child safe and the family intact."  And how do they do this?  Here's one example...
Why does Maine need Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDC)? 
Research has demonstrated that a very high proportion of child protective cases involve parental substance abuse.  Family Treatment Drug Courts have demonstrated improved retention by parents in substance abuse and other treatment, reduced time in foster care, and expedited permanency plans for children. 
Maine's Family Treatment Drug Courts
So the solution is to expand successful programs like this that help people to get off of drugs so that 
a. they're not taking so many kids to begin with and...
b. the kids that they are taking can go home that much quicker...
Which will, of course, lower the number of kids in foster care in Maine instead of increasing the number of kids in foster care which is now the case.

So how did we come to this?  From a National Model Child Welfare System in January of 2011 to "Drug abuse sending more kids to state custody" only 6 years later when we know how successful, not to mention cost effective so many of these programs actually are as compared to the thousands it costs to keep a kid in foster care for however long?  
Local mom first graduate of Family Treatment Drug Court in Bangor
Unfortunately we got a governor with a totally different philosophy on the issue of Child Abuse and Neglect who used one horrific and high profile child abuse case to launch a major policy change in Maine's Child Welfare System.
LePage told a television station Wednesday that he supports the death penalty “for those that kill babies” and feels DHHS has “gone from one extreme to another” when it decides whether to remove a child from a home in which abuse is suspected. 
The department has been criticized in the past for being too quick to remove a child, LePage said, but now, “sometimes we’re putting them back too quickly and sometimes we’re not taking them out fast enough." 
LePage, a victim of abuse as a child, supports a “system that protects our children,” Bennett said.  
DHHS won’t release information on dead baby
That mixed with his welfare cuts have created a state with a big problem and few adequate solutions.
This is pathetic.  Simply pathetic.

Drug Abuse Sending More Kids to State Custody

The state wants your kids.
The state of Maine has removed an increasing number of children from their homes in recent years because of their parent’s drug abuse. 
More >> Drug Abuse Sending More Kids to State Custody
Never mind the fact that Governor LePage has cut the shit out of drug abuse programs.

Never mind the fact that there are very successful drug intervention programs that help to keep families together often at a much lower cost than throwing the kid into foster care.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Education reform panel issues first report

A 15-member commission on education reform issued its first report last week, calling for exploring statewide or regional contracts to better compensate and retain effective teachers.

More >> Education reform panel issues first report

Corporal punishment has no place in our schools

Apparently, it’s still legal for Maine public schools to use corporal punishment on children, and there seems to be a lot of confusion about this. Many people, including myself, thought corporal punishment was no longer legal in Maine. I actually thought it must be illegal everywhere. I was wrong!

More >> Corporal punishment has no place in our schools

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Parent suing Maranacook district picked for school board

A parent suing the Maranacook schools over an allegation that a teacher placed a bag over his daughter’s head to humiliate her is now one of Readfield’s representatives on the regional school board.

More >> Parent suing Maranacook district picked for school board

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Maine Voices: LePage’s proposed cuts cast school leaders as fat to be trimmed

As districts statewide begin to deliberate on school budgets, the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations is poised to hear testimony regarding the governor’s biennial budget. Given the many cuts to public education proposed by Gov. LePage, I urge fellow Maine citizens to speak up to protect our schools.

More >> Maine Voices: LePage’s proposed cuts cast school leaders as fat to be trimmed

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sanford police seek woman suspected of taking her children illegally

Belmore is accused of “criminal restraint by a parent,” which under Maine statute is defined as the parent of a child illegally taking custody of the child from the child’s other parent, guardian or lawful custodian.

More >> Sanford police seek woman suspected of taking her children illegally

Friday, February 10, 2017

Investigation of Lewiston Schools Uncovers Alleged Discrimination by Race, Disability

A two-year investigation of the Lewiston School Department by Disability Rights Maine, Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the ACLU of Maine has uncovered what the groups say are violations of federal civil rights and disabilities laws.

More >> Investigation of Lewiston Schools Uncovers Alleged Discrimination by Race, Disability

LePage expects to get tough on 'deadbeat dads'

I still am not seeing much about this.
Gov. Paul LePage spoke about bills addressing child support and home foreclosures during his State of the State address on Tuesday. 
The governor said it's time to take aim at "deadbeat dads" and called it "unethical" for elderly people to be kicked out of their homes. 
More >> LePage expects to get tough on 'deadbeat dads'
So all we get is a little blurb without details.  However, I'm sure it comes from the mentality that blames estranged fathers for the high welfare rates.  Perhaps it's all huff and puff.  I don't know.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How to file a complaint against the Professional Medical License of Dr. Lawrence Ricci

Due to ongoing abuse of children and parents by Dr. Lawrence Ricci, the Cash Cow and Medical Director for Spurwink's Child Abuse Program, it is important for families to start standing up for themselves.  A fairly easy way to thank him for all the troubles he has caused your family would be to file a complaint against his License to Practice Medicine in the state with the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine.

Filing a complaint in against the professional license of any health care professional in Maine is easy.  

If you have online access, you could go to their website and learn about professional licensing.  

They have an online complaint form that you can fill out.  

You could also download and print out a PDF complaint form (be sure to send it certified mail) 

Or you could call (207) 287-3601 and request a paper copy of the complaint form and they will send you one in the mail.  

The quickest way would be to do so online and the state provides consumer advocates who will help you through the process once you submit your initial complaint.

Once your complaint is filed, it will be considered by the licensing board.  Dr. Ricci will then be given a chance to respond to the complaint after which you will be given the chance to rebut his response and provide your evidence of his unethical and traumatizing behavior.  

The more people who do this the better.  Imagine him having to respond to 50 complaints all at once. The poor bastard will be feeling like a real parent in a child abuse investigation.  

The important thing is to tell the truth.  Don't try to make anything up.  From what I've been hearing from parents, there is no need to anyway.  Nor can Dr. Ricci do anything to retaliate against you.  

If it is determined that he has abused his position, they will suspend his license so he will no longer be able to do this to families.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

State closes transgender death investigation

Maine's attorney general says no further investigation is needed into the suicide of a transgender boy at Long Creek Youth Development Center last fall.

More >> State closes transgender death investigation

Maine Education Association Says It Will Push Back Against Betsy DeVos

The Maine Education Association is vowing to push back against newly confirmed U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, concerned that DeVos will weaken public schools.

MEA president Lois Kilby-Chesley says the confirmation of Betsy DeVos poses a direct threat to public schools because the new education secretary favors charter schools.

More >> Maine Education Association Says It Will Push Back Against Betsy DeVos

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's time for Dr. Lawrence Ricci to go

Attn: Spurwink Services of MaineMaine Medical Center and the State of Maine

Please accept this as notification that the services of Dr. Lawrence Ricci are no longer required.

The families who have been victimized by Dr. Ricci's failure to follow evidence based practice to child abuse diagnostics are currently raising concerns in the legislature about the unfair and horrific way they are being treated by this pediatrician.  We feel that he is callous, rude and is quick to judge, acting without regard for the rights of families or the best interest of children.

Decisions made by Dr Ricci often have far reaching consequences including DHHS involvement based entirely on his justification and the unnecessary loss of custody of their children. Families are quickly plunged into legal and emotional chaos that can often take years to clear up.

It is also my concern that due to the reputation garnered by Dr. Ricci, parents in Maine now have a legitimate reason to fear taking their children to the hospital in case of an emergency as they are liable to be treated like criminals during an already traumatic medical experience involving their child.  Innocent parents seeking treatment fall prey to reckless unilateral diagnosis by Dr. Ricci, and often find themselves defending their right to parent when what they really need is a little compassion.

Unbound by legal parameters applied in any police investigation, Dr. Ricci can charge parents with abuse based on his own erroneous conclusion which will never be refuted, due to his contract with child protection.  We are also concerned that his involvement with Spurwink might create a conflict of interest as it provides children for further business opportunities including various services provided by Spurwink and their affiliates.

We therefore request that Dr. Ricci immediately be removed from his positions with the Spurwink Child Abuse Program as well as any affiliation with Maine Medical Center and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Maine Child Death and Serious Injury Panel.


The Parents of Maine
If you would like to offer testimony about your experiences with Dr. Lawrence Ricci please contact:

Rep. Heidi Sampson 

Rep Sampson is working with parents in Maine to change legislation to protect family/parental rights, or protect families from DHHS.  Please get involved and help us stop Dr. Ricci.


If you have stories or submissions please contact.

This is a Public Service Announcement from Family Rights of Maine and The Maine Parents Blog

AG: Death of teen at Long Creek ‘not suspicious’

The Maine attorney general’s office has found nothing suspicious in the death of a 16-year-old detainee who hanged himself late last year while confined at Long Creek Youth Development Center.

More >> AG: Death of teen at Long Creek ‘not suspicious’

Social media comments cause school cancellation in Howland

Comments posted on social media caused the cancellation of school for Howland-area School Administrative District 31 and the issuance of a restraining order against the father of a high school student on Monday, Superintendent of Schools Michael Wright said.

More >> Social media comments cause school cancellation in Howland

How $13M in unlawful spending took shape in Mary Mayhew’s DHHS

Officials in Gov. Paul LePage’s administration were aware that a federal law prohibited their use of millions in federal welfare funds on services for the elderly, and they had warnings from state finance staff that the spending was questionable.

More >> How $13M in unlawful spending took shape in Mary Mayhew’s DHHS

One person detained at Dirigo High after school put on lockdown

Dirigo High School in Dixfield was locked down Monday and a person who was walking past the school with what looked like a gun was detained by police, according to authorities.

The person detained was a 17-year-old who was not in school because of “administrative action” by school officials, said Jeffrey Howe, Dixfield’s police chief.

More >> One person detained at Dirigo High after school put on lockdown

Helping Maine’s Homeless Families- Part One

Statistics show 75% of single moms that leave transitional homes can pay their own rent without help from state agencies.

42% of children previously separated from their families, were rejoined.

A group in Ellsworth wants to open this alternative form of a homeless shelter, specifically gearing it towards families with minor children.

More >> Helping Maine’s Homeless Families- Part One

Monday, February 6, 2017

Maine schools get $12.2 million in loans for repairs, upgrades

More than two dozen Maine schools are getting help from the state to fix their roofs, improve air quality and remove hazardous materials.

More >> Maine schools get $12.2 million in loans for repairs, upgrades