Maine Legislature Gives Final Approval to Child Protection Bills

AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature this evening gave final approval to several bills designed to protect children following the recent deaths of two young girls, Kendall Chick and Marissa Kennedy, who were the victims of alleged physical abuse.

The bills that were passed are:

LD 1920: Increases the time for retention of DHHS unsubstantiated child protective services case records from 18 months to up five years.

LD 1922: Requires that reasonable efforts be made to rehabilitate and reunify families as a means for protecting the welfare of children, as opposed to current law that requires giving family rehabilitation and reunification priority as a means for protecting the welfare of children.

LD 1923: Provides more than $21 million in increased funding for procurement of additional case workers, supervisors, and other child welfare services to support children in the state’s custody. It also provides raises for those working in child welfare services.

Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) is the sponsor of LD 1921, “An Act to Grant the Department of Health and Human Services Access to Criminal History Information To Achieve the Purposes of the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act.” lt seeks to make the sharing of information more readily accessible between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Safety.

“None of the child protection bills we considered today will bring back Kendall and Marissa,” Senate President Thibodeau said. “It is clear that much more needs to be done. But hopefully the steps we have taken will help in the ongoing effort to protect our children.”

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