Click here for COVID-19 Resources for Parents and Children (link).
The Children’s Cabinet continues its work to ensure that Maine children enter Kindergarten prepared to succeed and that Maine youth enter adulthood healthy, connected to the workforce and/or education.
In response to COVID-19, steps have been taken to ensure the health, safety and well-being of children, youth and families during the pandemic.
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has taken significant steps to increase access to needed assistance programs, including but not limited to waiving premiums and co-pays for health coverage, extending annual review periods for TANF, SNAP and MaineCare for up to three months, and providing SNAP households the maximum food benefit for their size. In addition, DHHS is working with DOE to implement additional SNAP benefits for each child eligible for free and reduced lunch. The Office of Child and Family Services has provided and will provide a series of financial supports to child care programs to ensure programs remain open or reopen in the face of the pandemic. For more information, visit the DHHS Coronavirus website.
- Department of Education (DOE) has developed a Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction to provide guidance to schools as they prepare for the school in the fall. Last spring when schools moved to virtual learning, DOE worked to ensure that Maine students across the state were provided devices and and connectivity to access learning resources. DOE staff also made themselves available through office hours for teachers to support remote learning and to address the social emotional and mental health needs of children, youth and parents during this difficult time. Resources for schools and teachers as well as parents can be found on their website.
- Department of Labor (DOL) is responding to an unprecedented increase in the number of unemployed workers in our state, supporting parents to receive financial assistance through unemployment insurance. Visit the DOL COVID-19 response page for more information. Career Center services, including vocational rehabilitative services, remain available on-line.
- Department of Corrections (DOC) is working with regional teams to support the reintegration of detained and committed youth at Long Creek into the community. DOC reports COVID-19 related data daily on its website. The number of detained and committed youth as of April 10th is down by 48% since the beginning of the year.
In her inaugural address in January 2019, Governor Janet Mills announced her plan to reinstate the Maine’s Children’s Cabinet to improve the health and well-being of children in our state. The Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future is coordinating the work of the Governor Mill’s Children’s Cabinet to align and strengthen programs and policies for young children and at-risk youth. The Children’s Cabinet members are the Commissioners of five state agencies -- Department of Corrections, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and Department of Public Safety – operating programs and policies for children. Maine’s Chief Justice is also invited and participates in select Children’s Cabinet meetings.
The Children’s Cabinet has identified two overarching goals:
- All Maine children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. (Click here for plan.)
- All Maine youth enter adulthood healthy, connected to the workforce and/or education. (Click here for plan.)
For more information about Governor Mills’ Children’s Cabinet, please contact Ana Hicks, the Children’s Cabinet Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.