Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Duct Tape Sally and the Maine Child Welfare Reform Turnaround

So yesterday it came out that Sally Schofield, the former DHS (DHHS now) Child Protective Social Worker who murdered a five year old foster child named Logan Marr back in 2001 by Duct Taping her to a high chair with 42 feet of tape, has been released from the Windham Correctional Facility after serving 14 years of a 17 year sentence.
Logan Marr
Logan Marr

Now if that isn't bad enough, the news articles that are coming out are also bringing mention in little blurbs to the wonderful changes to Maine's child welfare system that the case led to under the Governor John Baldacci administration (2003 to 2011).

The case resulted in an overhaul of the state's child welfare system, putting an emphasis on keeping children with relatives rather than in foster care. 
More >> Woman convicted of killing 5-year-old foster child released

While it is true that the case led to major reforms to Maine's child welfare system,  which the state bragged about heavily in January of 2011 during the 10 year anniversary celebrations of Logan Marr's death...
Former Gov. Baldacci was among those who repaired a child protective system that was not safeguarding children. 
More >> Maine Voices: Decade of change in protecting children
they forget to point out the fact that our current governor has a totally turned it back around due to his very different philosophy regarding the protection of children from child abuse and keeping them safe in their homes.  He states this in an article back in May of 2012 in response to another high profile child abuse case.
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. 
More >> DHHS won’t release information on dead baby
The LePage Administration was able to use the above case as a springboard to launch major policy change at DHHS.

Since then, Governor LePage and Commissoner Mayhew have also worked hard to cut funding to programs that help kept kids safe in their homes under the guise of Welfare Reform as well as necessary services that helped the families to turn it around, as discussed in a 2013 opinion article from the director of one of the agencies that got cut...
The increase in foster care funding seems to suggest that the governor is looking to circumvent established practice and send children who could be successfully reunited with their families off to foster-care before attempting to reunify a family through treatment and support. Our children deserve better. Clearly the reduction in PNMI funding indicates that access to family reunification services will be much harder to come by. If this is not a shift in policy on a state level it is hard to envision otherwise. Our families deserve better. 
More >> LePage budget should provide more funding to reunify families, not keep kids in foster care
Which of course resulted in the state desperately needing to hire more foster care providers as is discussed in this article from exactly one year ago today.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew and local foster parents gathered Thursday at Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine on Main Street to encourage more families to open their homes to children in need. 
More >> State calls for more foster homes to meet growing need
Needless to say the state turned it back around.  So please don't be fooled by the blurbs.  But do feel free to discuss it with the Legislature... 

Public Hearings on Child Protective Issues
May 2nd – 1 pm in the Judiciary Room in State House Room 438 you want to testify on one, two or all three bills, you may indicate this in your testimony.…LD 472 An Act Regarding Parental Rights…LD 1187 An Act to Amend the Child Protective Service Statutes…LD 1304 An Act to Specify the Rights of Parents

Anyway, Sally Schofield is a free women, Logan Marr is still dead, Maine's Child Welfare System is still a mess, and I still believe that if this murderer didn't work for the state, she would have gotten life. 

But they do take care of their own you know.

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