AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — An independent organization that investigated the deaths of five children in a single month issued a series of recommendations for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, officials said Thursday.
Casey Family Services recommended that Maine DHHS establish joint protocols with law enforcement, hospitals and and child welfare staff when there is suspected neglect or abuse.
Its recommendations also included streamlining the duties of child welfare workers and ensuring timetables are compatible with their workload.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said that the agency is evaluating seven recommendations that focused heavily on coordination and communication.
“We remain committed to learning all we can from these tragic deaths and taking action to help Maine children grow up safe, healthy and loved,” Lambrew said in a statement.
The fatal beating of 3-year-old Maddox Williams in Stockton Springs drew statewide attention after his mother was charged in his beating.
The Maine DHHS had been involved at least a couple of times with Maddox’s parents before he died from blunt force trauma, police said. He died after his mother and grandmother brought him to a hospital June 20.
The boy was one of five children whose deaths in the month of June were reviewed by Casey Family Services.
“The heartbreaking deaths of these children continue to be felt among their families, their communities, our staff, and our state as a whole,” said Todd Landry, director of the DHHS Office of Child and Family Services.
The report by Casey Family Services, a national child welfare research organization, was based on available data and an analysis of both human factors and systems that were in place.
The report said that solving the problems that can lead to failed interventions when it comes to child safety can be complex, and that the benefit of hindsight tends to oversimplify solutions.
“It is understood that there are no quick fixes within the child welfare system and careful thought and planning must be considered prior to their implementation,” the report said.
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