Governor LePage Issues Statement on DHHS Reforms and OPEGA Preliminary Report

May 24, 2018

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 24, 2017
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA—Governor Paul R. LePage has issued the following statement regarding today’s report from the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) regarding Child Protective Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The priority of the child welfare system should be doing what is in the best interests of the child, and we are carefully reviewing our statutes and systems to ensure that every decision is first and always about the child,” emphasized Governor LePage.

“We must proceed in a manner that does not jeopardize any pending prosecution so that justice is served for the children who so tragically lost their lives,” the Governor continued.

Governor LePage stated, “The questions and concerns raised by OPEGA largely mirror those identified in the administration’s internal review. DHHS has already made several reforms in the way child welfare cases are handled. It is important, however, that we have as much information as possible from all parties involved in this system before making significant changes that may have to be revised after additional formal reviews are completed. Our children deserve a system that works in their best interests.”

The administration is offering to share its recommendations with OPEGA. Additional recommendations will come from DHHS and the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Panel. Some of these recommendations may require legislation.

Governor LePage added, “I want to stress that, if anyone suspects child abuse or neglect, please call 1-800-452-1999 immediately to make a report.”