Thursday, 15 March 2018 16:24

Governor plans to issue executive orders to change Child Protection Services procedures Featured

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WATERVILLE - Governor Paul LePage said he's got a plan to stop children from falling through the cracks in the child protection system.

But, he's not yet ready to reveal the details.

 

His comments come in the wake of a public outcry following the death of a 10-year-old Stockton Springs girl.

 

During an interview with ABC 7 Thursday morning, the governor said to expect him to issue executive orders in the coming weeks aimed at changing some procedures in the child protective service. But he's keeping specifics of his plan private for the time being.

 

Blaming the bureaucracy for letting the case of Marrisa Kennedy get buried in an avalanche of paperwork. In the Kennedy case, "the problem like everything else is bureaucracy. The bureaucracy has gone amok," said Governor LePage. When she moved from Bangor to Stockton Springs, her file was switched to a different regional office. That, the governor said, is the kind of thing that can be changed without legislative action. "So what I think we need to do is find a way that when a particular case is assigned to a worker it stays with that worker until it is resolved."

 

The governor said he's reviewed the Kennedy file and believes people involved with any aspect of child protection - whether it's police, educators or child protective workers - need to communicate with each other. He was asked whether anyone in state government will be held accountable for procedural lapses resulting in the girl's death. "The answer to that is very simply, people need to be held accountable. But I will be very honest i'm not .sure it's all D.H.H.S. I think there's plenty of blame to go around, Including the legislature," he said, following a speech Thursday morning to the members of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce in Waterville.

 

He said legislators bear some responsibility for failing to toughen laws dealing with mandated child abuse reporters. "This particular young lady and I can't get into details. But this young lady didn't need to die," he said. The governor praised Ryan Enman, the principal of Bangor's Fairmount School. He said, the educator persistently sought to have child protective services intervene in the Marissa Kennedy's life. But nobody at D.H.H.S. listened to him. Governor LePage said the Bangor principal, "from day one, was pushing and pushing and pushing to have more done in this case and it wasn't done. Some people were really trying to do their job. Others were just being bureaucrats," LePage said.

 

Marissa Kennedy's mother and step-father are charged with murder in connection with her death.

 

While the criminal investigation continues, a legislative oversight committee has initiated a parallel investigation.

 

TJ Tremble

Reporter
[email protected]

T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, studying political science.

He started his news career at the Camden Herald, many years ago. He also worked for the Bangor Daily News in Rockland, Belfast and Bangor.

He entered broadcast journalism as news director for WQCB-FM, Brewer. For Many years he worked behind the scenes in radio and television.

Recently, he worked as a news reporter for Zone Radio Corporation in Bangor [WZON-AM, WKIT-FM and WZLO-FM.

He has received reporting awards from the Maine Press Association, Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Maine Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

He is married, with three adult children and three grandchildren.