2 child protection advocates resign from board over concerns over DHHS inaction

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Two members of the board of directors of the child protection ombudsman have resigned, suggesting that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is not receptive to oversight. Senator Bill Diamond said their resignations highlighted years of concern he had about children in state care. “It gives me chills to think that there are kids out there now, without a doubt, who are being abused and we don’t know it,” Diamond said. Board members Ally Keppel and James “Allie” McCormack said in their resignation letter, which was sent to the Portland Press Herald, that their resignations stem from long-standing concerns that have been underscored by the death. recent of four children. They also said another legislative session had passed without any significant changes approved by lawmakers. “We won’t know the names of these children until they die and it is obviously far too late,” said Diamond. All four deaths include the beating of 3-year-old Maddox Williams in Stockton Springs. Her mother is in prison, charged with murder. Court documents showed the DHHS was called in one case before his death. A DHHS spokesperson said it is committed to conducting thorough reviews to improve the safety of children and families in Maine. The Office of Children and Family Services said it was conducting an independent review in partnership with Casey Family Programs. The government oversight committee of the Maine legislature ordered its own review of the child welfare system. “The key is that we don’t let go of this this time around. In the past, when the legislature would go home, it all quiets down until there is another death, then there is a trial and it goes again. Practices and policies don’t seem to be changing and that’s enough, ”said Diamond. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Two members of the board of directors of the child protection ombudsman have resigned, suggesting that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is not receptive to oversight.

Senator Bill Diamond said their resignations highlighted years of concern he had about children in state care.

“It gives me chills to think that there are kids out there now, without a doubt, who are being abused and we don’t know it,” Diamond said.

Board members Ally Keppel and James “Allie” McCormack said in their resignation letter, which was sent to the Portland Press Herald, that their resignations stem from long-standing concerns that have been underscored by the death. recent of four children.

They also said another legislative session had passed without any significant changes approved by lawmakers.

“We won’t know the names of these children until they die and it is obviously far too late,” said Diamond.

The four deaths include the fatal beating of 3-year-old Maddox Williams in Stockton Springs. Her mother is in prison, charged with murder.

Court documents showed the DHHS was called in one case before his death. A spokesperson for DHHS said it is committed to conducting thorough reviews to improve the safety of children and families in Maine.

The Office of Children and Family Services said it was conducting an independent review in partnership with Casey Family Programs.

At the same time, the government oversight committee of the Maine legislature ordered its own review of the child welfare system.

“The key is that we are not letting go this time. In the past when the legislature comes home it all settles down until there is another death, then there is a trial and it goes again. The practices and policies don’t seem to change and that’s enough, ”said Diamond.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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