After a child fatality in 2001, Maine’s child welfare and protective services came under scrutiny for their aggressive, their bureaucratic, legalistic approach, and their seeming indifference to the consequences of removing children from their familiar surroundings. The fact is, Maine’s approach to child protection was not all that different from practices in plenty of other jurisdictions.
On the other end, Maine ran into an issue in the mid 1990s when the system was overly cautious about removing a child – who ultimately died – from a dangerous situation.
The result: a loss in balance that led to stark, black and white decision making. Needing to resolve the issues in their system, Maine enlisted the help of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to implement new practices that created better decision making processes, reduced reliance on congregate care, and refocusing practices on permanence.