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1995: The Children's Cabinet was established to oversee and coordinate the delivery of services to children and youth in Maine. The Children's Cabinet is composed of the departments directly related to children and families: Corrections, Education, Health & Human Services, and Public Safety.
The charge to the Children's Cabinet, emphasizes the important leadership role of the Commissioners to collaborate and promote the concept of a seamless service delivery system for children and families and the need to pool funding to maximize limited resources. Following some initial planning meetings, the Children's Cabinet began operations with a two-day retreat in December, 1995, during which Commissioners articulated a common vision of a coordinated, community-based system of services for children and families and outlined a plan for operations, as noted below.
As a result, the Childrens Cabinet has actively collaborated since 1995 to create and promote coordinated policies and service delivery systems that support children, families, and communities.
May 10, 2000: In February 2000, the Task Force to Study the Implementation of Alternative Programs and Interventions for Violent and Chronically Disruptive Students chaired by Senator Mary R. Cathcart and by Rep. Shirley K. Richard, submitted a number of recommendations pursuant to its charge to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Services. The Task Forces first recommendation was to authorize the Governors Childrens Cabinet in state law, as well as endorse interagency coordination and the use of pooled funds to maximize limited resources. The Task Force also recommended establishing a coordinators position for the Cabinet, a "civil and caring schools" initiative, and a statewide public awareness campaign.
Pursuant to a Joint Order, the Education Committee asked for the authority to report out a Committee bill to implement the Task Forces recommendation to establish the Childrens Cabinet in statute, as well as create a new entity called the Council on Children and Families. The bill was reported out of Committee unanimously, passed by the full Legislature, and signed into law as PL 785 , by the Governor on May 10, 2000.
September 2003: Governor John E. Baldacci appointed First Lady Karen M. Baldacci Chair of the Maine Children's Cabinet and the statute was amended to also include the Department of Labor as a full standing member.