Sen. Diamond issues statement after two members of the Board of Directors of the Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman resign
AUGUSTA – On Monday, it was reported that the two most long-serving members of the Board of Directors of the Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman had resigned their positions. Their resignation letter spells out the reason for their resignations as a frustration in the lack of needed reform in Maine’s child welfare systems, leaving children at risk of harm and abuse. Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, issued the following statement in response:
“I appreciate the bravery of these two board members, and I commend them for their years of service to the children of Maine. Their voices add to the chorus of those calling for badly needed changes within the Office of Child and Family Services, and I hope that their statement will help other see how desperately we need action and change.”
In its 2020 annual report, the Ombudsman’s office details how the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) continues to struggle to fully protect Maine children in two key areas. The Ombudsman found that OCFS struggles with determining the safety of a child in the home during initial investigations. The Office also struggles to make informed decisions about if it is safe to reunify the children with his or her parents.
This year, Sen. Diamond introduced a bill that would take OCFS out from under DHHS, creating a separate Department of Child and Family Services with the goal of directing more resources toward protecting Maine children. The bill was opposed by DHHS, and though it received bipartisan support in the Senate, it did not receive sufficient support in the Maine House to become law.