Crown Politics

Why lawmakers tweaked parts of the LePage child welfare reform package

Good morning from Augusta, where a legislative panel whittled down a ream of bills from Gov. Paul LePage aiming to reform Maine’s embattled child welfare system to endorse a narrower package on Monday ahead of the Legislature’s return to Augusta on Thursday.

In an evening series of votes, majorities of a legislative committee added funding for caseworker positions and shot down two of the Republican governor’s more controversial ideas — criminalizing a mandated reporter’s failure to report abuse or neglect when they know or reasonably suspect it and turning Maine slightly away from a policy of family reunification.

The votes bode well for child welfare reform to pass in the final act of a historically gridlocked Legislature after the high-profile deaths of two girls — Marissa Kennedy and Kendall Chick. Lawmakers also heard that those two deaths didn’t alone create a crisis and one caseworker warned of placing more money in the hands of “incompetent administrators.”

To read the rest of “Why lawmakers tweaked parts of the LePage child welfare reform package,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer , please follow this link to the BDN online.

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