But people who provide those services say they are helping at-risk families. Now some legislators are trying to keep the funding available. Earlier this year, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services decided against renewing
contracts with the groups providing the $2.2 million Community Partnerships forProtecting Children program. A key part of the program involved guidance from parents who had prior dealings with the state's Bureau of Child Protective Services.
"The parent/partner program is kind of critical when we're looking at people navigating D.H.H.S. and needing to be informed," said Heidi LeBlanc, Chief Opperating Officer for Penquis Community Action Program.
According to a statement released by the governor's office, talks are underway attempting to find ways to save this aspect of the program.
"She's been able to use her own circumstances and work with the families and help them through the process and hopefully to reunification with their child," said Caitlin Britwum, C.P.P.C. program manager.
Just weeks after the February announcement to cut that funding, the death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy turned the attention of the public on the procedures and methods followed by Child Protective Services. Kennedy's mother and step-f
ather are in jail on murder charges in connection with the child's death. Now legislators are attempting to stop the governor from eliminating this child prevention program. If they do so, funding will be extended beyond September's deadline. In
addition to Bangor, the program is offered at three other locations across the state.
"It's awfully hard to see why we'd be cutting services that protect young children,"said Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau, (R) - Winterport. .
However, the release from Governor Paul LePage's office announcing the cuts called some of the services duplicative. The legsialture's health and human services committee is expected to hold a public hearing on the issue within the next
couple of weeks.