Maine to Review Safety Policies After 4 Recent Child Deaths

Four children 4 years old or younger have died in the past month from accidents or injuries

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Maine's human services department said Thursday it's evaluating child safety policies in the state in the wake of four deaths of young children.

The children were all 4 years old or younger, and all died within the past month due to accidents or injuries. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said it has asked Casey Family Programs, a child welfare foundation, for assistance in investigating the children's deaths.

The department said it's also asking the foundation for help evaluating safety policies and offering new policy recommendations.

The human services department said it is also going to step up education campaigns in response to challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The department said Maine and other states are seeing more mental health and substance abuse problems, including among parents and children, during this stage of the pandemic.

Maine is offering people who were on the state's unemployment system $1,500 if they rejoin the workforce some time in the next two weeks.

Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the department, said the state will work to "ensure Maine families have access to the support they need to cope with the significant stresses of the pandemic."

Maine has made changes to its child welfare system in recent years. The killings of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy and 4-year-old Kendall Chick exposed gaps in the system and led to reforms.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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