Progress for child and family services
Because of the efforts of Maine Office of Child and Family Services caseworkers who shared their experiences from the frontlines, legislators on Aug. 30 passed LD 1923 adding 16 caseworker positions, eight case aide positions and 16 supervisor positions to the Maine OCFS workforce. To help with recruitment and retention, LD 1923 includes a $5 per hour stipend for Child Protective Services Caseworker positions and Child Protective Services Caseworker Supervisor positions and a $1 per hour stipend for workers in those classifications holding or obtaining a relevant master’s degree. LD 1923 and related legislation approved by legislators are now law. We have reached out to the administration on implementation.
LD 1923 also provides additional resources to strengthen Maine’s foster care system, invests one-time funding for development of a new child-welfare IT system, and directs the current administration to draft up a Child Welfare Investigator classification for the next administration to consider. Other legislation approved last night increases access to criminal background information (LD 1921), increases from 18 months to no more than five years the time period for expungement of records relating to unsubstantiated claims (LD 1920), and places more focus on the best interest of the child compared to reunifications (LD 1922).
While there is more to be done to strengthen child and family services in Maine, the legislation approved last night is a good start. Let’s keep this momentum going for Maine’s children and families. We will follow up with any new developments.
Check our facebook page for photos of caseworkers, on their own time, lobbying legislators. Also see them @mseaseiu1989 on twitter and Instagram.