Department of Health and Human Services

Watchdog Finds Uptick in Child Abuse, Neglect Cases in Maine

Maine is struggling with an uptick in alleged child abuse and neglect.

A legislative watchdog Thursday said Department of Health and Human Services caseworkers face mounting workloads as they investigate such reports.

Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Director Beth Ashcroft says workloads are increasing as call volumes go up and new policy changes require more assessments of some allegations.

Maine had 6,159 open assessments as of June 14. That's over double the number of open assessments in January 2017.

Maine is also relying on contracted agencies to handle allegations of child abuse and neglect considered to be of low-to-moderate severity.

The watchdog is investigating Maine's child welfare system following the deaths of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February in Stockton Springs and 4-year-old Kendall Chick in December in Wiscasset.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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