Belfast lawmaker wants changes to child welfare system



A Belfast lawmaker is demanding responses from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on its child welfare system, in light of recent child deaths.

The Legislative Assembly’s government oversight committee is meeting Wednesday to hear from senior officials from the Department of Health and Human Services about the system.

“The death of a child is always tragic, especially when it could have been avoided, like that of Maddox Williams of Stockton Springs,” State Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, said in a statement on Friday. Williams, 3, died of “blunt trauma” on June 20, according to the state medical examiner’s office, and his mother, Jessica Williams, 35, of Stockton Springs, is charged with the murder of her son .

Stockton Springs is part of Senate District 11, which Curry represents. In a letter to the committee, Curry called for a DHHS investigation.

“The death of Maddox Williams is both heartbreaking and appalling,” he wrote. “Tragically, several children in Maine have died in the past month. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child and Family Services and Child Protection Services has let these children down. Our legislature must determine how best to support these families and save lives. “

Maddox Williams was the fourth child in Maine to die in less than a month from suspected abuse or by accident.

Her death comes less than 3.5 years after the death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, also of Stockton Springs. Marissa Kennedy’s parents, Sharon Kennedy and Julio Carrillo, have been convicted of murder and are serving lengthy prison sentences.

Todd Landry, Director of the Office of Children and Family Services, Christine Alberi, Executive Director of the Ombudsman for Child Protective Services and Lisa Marchese, Deputy Attorney General, will appear before the committee during the a meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Curry wrote in Friday’s letter that years of reform promises have failed to materialize.

“If the knowledge and information on how to reform our department and our systems exists, what is preventing us from being successful and where do we need to make further changes? Curry asked.

This story will be updated.

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