Diamond law to prioritize child safety in family reunification takes effect

Posted: December 20, 2018 | Government Oversight Committee, Senator Diamond

AUGUSTA — A new law by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, which clarifies the statute regarding family reunification in the child welfare system, went into effect on Thursday, Dec. 13. The law aims to protect Maine children from being reunified with their families when it’s not in the best interest of their safety and well-being.

“While family reunification is often best for the child, a child should not be reunified with their parents if doing so poses a threat to that child’s life,” said Sen. Diamond. “This law makes that clear and is an important step in ensuring that the child welfare system works the way it is supposed to.”

The new law came as a direct response to the tragic deaths of Kendall Chick and Marissa Kennedy and the subsequent investigation into Maine’s child welfare system directed by the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee. It was first introduced by Sen. Diamond in August and was quickly passed by both the House and Senate before being signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage.

“I’m grateful to my colleagues in both parties who supported this bill,” said Sen. Diamond. “We still have a lot of work to do to improve Maine’s child welfare system, but I am glad to see this progress being made. I look forward to continuing my work on this issue in the coming legislative session.”

Sen. Diamond was sworn in for his ninth term in the Maine Senate on Dec. 5. The new Legislature will convene on Wednesday, Jan. 2.12