Sunday, October 28, 2018

Maine Voices: Parents of the intellectually disabled have reason to fear our social service system

On several occasions, both this year and last, this newspaper has published the moving accounts of Maine parents who fear for the safety of their adult children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the care of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services. Exacerbating their fears was a 2017 audit by the U.S. DHHS, severely criticizing Maine officials for failing to investigate the deaths of 133 individuals in state-funded facilities between January 2013 and June 2015. Nine deaths were described as “unexplained, suspicious or untimely.”

The auditor also found that neither the Maine DHHS nor community providers reported 34 percent of sexual assaults, suicidal acts and serious injuries that led to emergency room treatment of Medicaid beneficiaries with developmental disabilities.

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