Sen. Diamond issues statement, calls for an additional public forum following meeting of Government Oversight Committee

Posted: July 20, 2022 | Senator Diamond

AUGUSTA – On Wednesday, the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee (GOC) held a public comment hearing about their ongoing investigation of Maine’s child protection system. During the meeting, Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, pledged to work alongside the GOC on any and all opportunities to help people share their experiences with Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and to help make important changes to Maine’s child protection system, specifically by holding an additional public forum:

“Almost one year ago, the GOC voted to begin this investigation, and it’s been a meaningful and important step forward in achieving reform. Not in my memory has such an investigation about child deaths and abuse been instituted by a legislative committee. The GOC has looked into DHHS’s extremely concerning failure to meet federal child safety standards, interviewed DHHS officials, and listened to the public. This is unprecedented – as is the sheer number of child deaths that have occurred since 2007 alone. We must not let this unique opportunity to make change pass us by.

“We must make every opportunity for people with personal experience with DHHS, including those who work inside Maine’s child protection system, to have their voices heard. There are people who know the truth, and we need to hear from them. The only way we’re going to find out why children keep dying, despite contact with our child protection system, is to ask those who know how the system really works. Children deserve to be protected from those who abuse and too often murder them. We need to find out what’s really going on in that office and why so many children are dying. Inviting the people who know the system to speak is the only way we’re going to find out.”

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call 1-800-452-1999. If you have questions or concerns about a child protective services case, you can contact the Ombudsman’s office at 1-866-621-0758. For emergencies, dial 911 or call your local police department.