BANGOR — Sen. Bill Diamond and other lawmakers have organized a two-day walking tour in honor of Maine children who have died from abuse while under the state’s care.
One hundred and forty-three children have died from abuse while under the state’s care since 2007, according to Sen. Bill Diamond.
Diamond said that’s 143 too many and is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
“That’s an appalling number. Many of those were homicides,” said Diamond. “The big problem we have in the state with our child welfare system is the fact that the kids are being neglected, and the neglect turns into torture or abuse, and that turns into, too often, death,” he said.
Diamond, along with other legislators and officials, organized a two-day, seven-town walking tour spanning from Old Town to Wiscasset on Sept. 28-29.
“All of those towns are important for this particular walk because in each one of those towns a child was murdered under the state care,” Diamond said. “They were either murdered and (the accused) has been convicted, or it’s alleged and it’s going to trial. But in any case, they’re all kids who were in state care at the time,” he said.
Diamond said this is an issue everyone should be able to get behind, regardless of political affiliation.
“This is such a non-partisan issue. We’re getting help from all sides, and that’s been the case,” Diamond said. “You saw here today Republicans, Democrats, that’s just what it is. And because it’s nonpartisan, people are more willing to get engaged, to get involved, and they’re not worried about being labeled as one way or another and that is so important,” he said.
Diamond and Sen. Joe Baldacci both discussed introducing legislation that will create an oversight and closer evaluation of child and family services.
Diamond said it will make a big difference if it passes.