Governor’s Statement on Signing Law to Support Children Involved in Court Cases

April 14, 2016

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 14, 2016 Contact: Peter A. Steele, Communications Director

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has released a statement on his signing of LD 890, “An Act to Ensure a Continuing Home Court for Cases Involving Children.” The Department of Health and Human Services submitted this bill to allow the district court system to assign cases involving children to the jurisdiction of a “home court” through resolution.

“This bill will benefit the almost 300 children who are adopted each year through the child welfare system,” said Governor LePage. “By eliminating a transfer from the district court to the probate court, these children will be adopted more quickly than under the current system. It also eliminates duplication of effort and confusion on the part of the adopting families. This is how government should be working: to benefit our most vulnerable citizens in a direct and efficient manner.”

An additional advantage is that the district court judge is already familiar with the case and the home environments; therefore, the judge is in a far better position to make the best decision for the child in these cases.

When children are part of a divorce, change in parental rights, protection from abuse or a child protection case, DHHS has the responsibility to support them during those challenging and emotional situations. Having the case remain at the home district court will provide a pathway for better outcomes for Maine’s families.