Monday, April 30, 2018

Letter to the editor: It’s hard for Maine parents to find good help for a troubled child

s a parent who struggled to find help for a now-grown child, let me make it clear: The stigma and shame came as the result of seeking help, both from professionals and other community resources.

More >> Letter to the editor: It’s hard for Maine parents to find good help for a troubled child

Friday, April 27, 2018

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Garrett Mason Suggests Schools Shouldn’t Feed Students

Westbrook, MAINE – As the Maine Republican primary for governor heats up, one candidate – Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason - is running further to the right than most. During a Republican gubernatorial forum in Palmyra this past Saturday, Mason launched into an ideological tirade against the government, going so far as to take aim at a program that helps feed tens of thousands of Maine kids through free or reduced-price lunches at schools.

“You know who believes that the government should control society? Karl Marx. Karl Marx and communism - they thought the government could control society. It’s failed everywhere it's been tried,” Mason said. “The way you fix society is not by providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner at school; it’s not by providing every social program under the sun through the government.”

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement in response:

“As a direct result of Governor Paul LePage’s policies, more children in Maine are poorer and hungrier – and now Garrett Mason wants to make it worse by attacking a successful program that helps feed kids at school.

More >> Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Garrett Mason Suggests Schools Shouldn’t Feed Students

Thursday, April 26, 2018

'Now we have threats to kill students, to kill teachers': Maine schools seeing rise in violent threats

Maine police said they have seen an increase in threats made to local schools since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead.

More >> 'Now we have threats to kill students, to kill teachers': Maine schools seeing rise in violent threats

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



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

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

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

LePage vetoes extended funding for child abuse prevention program

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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

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

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

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


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

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

It's quite pathetic really.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

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



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

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

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Child welfare computer system taken down after "suspicious traffic"

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

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

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

DHHS reviews child abuse cases it contracted out

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


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

More >> DHHS reviews child abuse cases it contracted out

Friday, April 13, 2018

Maine House Passes Conversion Therapy Ban After Fiery Debate

Passions boiled over during a debate in the Maine House over a bill to ban conversion therapy, causing the House speaker to suspend debate at one point so tensions could simmer before members cast their vote.

More >> Maine House Passes Conversion Therapy Ban After Fiery Debate

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Maine House votes to save child abuse prevention program



The Maine House on Tuesday voted to rescue a $2.2 million child abuse prevention program in an effort to overturn attempts by the LePage administration to terminate it.

The bill to save the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children has attracted bipartisan support, with Democratic lawmakers joined by Republican Senate Majority Leader Michael Thibodeau and Republican Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough. The measure, approved by voice vote, and will now go to the Maine Senate.

More >> Maine House votes to save child abuse prevention program

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Maine adoption fight pits two families who love a little girl. Only one could take her home.




In a case badly mishandled by the state, two families with legitimate claims and lots of love for a little girl are thrust into an emotionally devastating adoption battle.

More >> Maine adoption fight pits two families who love a little girl. Only one could take her home.

Friday, April 6, 2018

New Tool in Investigating Child Abuse Cases Could Lead to 'False Negatives'

When a suspected case of child abuse or neglect in Maine is reported to the state, it is the state's job to decide whether to open an investigation. A year ago, the Maine Office of Child and Family Services started using a new tool to help caseworkers make these decisions. But some professionals who frequently report suspected abuse say they're worried that the state is no longer investigating all of the cases it should, leaving some children in unsafe situations. 
More >> New Tool in Investigating Child Abuse Cases Could Lead to 'False Negatives'
Maine's DHHS workers aren't too bright.  So I can see where it would be common where they would screw it up.

On the flip side, I'm sure a lot of families are wrongfully torn apart too.

Lawmakers Consider Bills To Repeal Parts - Or All - Of Maine's 'Proficiency-Based' Education Law

Maine's transition to "proficiency-based" high school diplomas is under increasing scrutiny from parents, educators - and now, lawmakers.  The state Department of Education is proposing a bill that it says would repeal pieces of the law and grant more flexibility to local districts.

Ninth graders in Maine are set to be the first graduating class to receive "proficiency-based" diplomas.  They will have to be "proficient" in up to eight subjects, including math, English and science, in order to graduate. But the policy has been delayed in the past and questioned by key stakeholders.


More >> Lawmakers Consider Bills To Repeal Parts - Or All - Of Maine's 'Proficiency-Based' Education Law

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Lawmakers told Maine must reassess how it deals with children who commit crimes

Three experts in juvenile justice urged lawmakers on Wednesday to do a top-to-bottom assessment of how the state responds to troubled children.

The recommendation came during a joint meeting of two legislative committees to discuss ongoing problems at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, the state’s only correctional facility for youths, where a suicide by a transgender teen in 2016 and turmoil among the staff have highlighted what advocates say is a failing model of rehabilitating children accused of crimes.

More >> Lawmakers told Maine must reassess how it deals with children who commit crimes

Lisbon man charged with terrorizing after threat to blow up DHHS building

I am posting this because there are pretty much two possibilities for why this guy might be so angry at DHHS.  The first is that he was denied benefits, the 2nd is that DHHS took his kid.  I'm operating on the assumption that one of these might be true and therefore it would be relevant.
Police arrested a Lisbon man Wednesday and charged him with terrorizing after threats were made to blow up a building. 
Lisbon Police say they received a tip Wednesday that Alexander Hanks, 24, of 30 Sabattus Creek Drive, Lisbon threatened on social media to blow up a Department of Health and Human Services building. Police contacted DHHS and began an investigation, according to a statement from the Lisbon Police. 
More >> Lisbon man charged with terrorizing after threat to blow up DHHS building
Perhaps we'll know more later?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Maine to consider 'red flag law'

Several states have debated similar red flag laws in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

More >> Maine to consider 'red flag law'

Marissa Kennedy and Kendall Chick Are This Years Springboards For Child Abuse Propaganda Month in Maine



With these two cases still fresh in the minds of the emotion junkies who want DHHS to snatch more kids more quickly from their parents and make them harder to get back after comes National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  This is the number one month for all of the private agencies who profit from work with abused children and their families to hold their fundraisers Awareness Campaigns.  There will be blue pinwheel gardens and candle light vigils and ceremonies and on and on all across the country.
Two high profile child abuse cases in Maine, the deaths of Kendall Chick and Marissa Kennedy, left many Mainers wondering how and why it happened.

But one organization is looking ahead, not back. 
The Maine Children's Trust oversees child abuse and neglect councils in every one of Maine's sixteen counties. 
Source >> Maine Children's Trust kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month
Unfortunately this year we have two recent and horrific child abuse cases which they will certainly be harping on and more people will come out to give because of it.  And ultimately, there will be a spike in the number of foster kids in Maine.







Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lawmakers: LePage gag order means we can’t tell if DHHS is doing its job

Lawmakers on the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee say they can’t complete a review of the department they oversee because no one from the department would come talk to them about it.

Last Thursday’s House calendar included a letter, signed by co-chairs Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, and Rep. Patricia Hymanson, D-York, stating that their committee “was unable to engage in direct dialogue with any members of the department,” despite all other committees having the opportunity to do so.

More >> Lawmakers: LePage gag order means we can’t tell if DHHS is doing its job

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tests show no pot in cookies that Bangor day care staff said got them high, police say



I would love it if the parents involved in this case could reach out to me for comment.  I would like to know what the police and daycare put them through.  If anybody has any insight into this, I would love to hear from them.

The cookies that a dozen Bangor day care staffers believed got them high in February did not contain any illicit substances, investigators said Monday.
About a quarter of the 44-person staff at Bangor’s Watch Me Shine day care reported feeling intoxicated Feb. 14 after they ate Valentine’s Day cookies dropped off by a parent, the center’s director said.
More >> Tests show no pot in cookies that Bangor day care staff said got them high, police say
As for the staff at this particular daycare...  They weren't high, just stupid.

It would be wise to avoid www.WatchMeShine.net.  They'll report anything.