State committee subpoenas DHHS child protection records

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2022 at 1:21 PM EDT
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Maine (WABI) - A Maine legislative committee voted 10-1 Wednesday to subpoena the Department of Health and Human Services for the case files of four Maine children killed last year... allegedly by their parents.

In July, DHHS refused to release the files to the Government Oversight Committee, saying it could jeopardize the ongoing investigations.

The 29 child deaths last year known to DHHS mark a record high.

The four cases that have been subpoenaed occurred over a span of a few weeks that summer.

Senate Democrat Bill Diamond said he’s thankful for the decision as it is the only way for the Committee to make changing recommendations.

Senate Republican lead Lisa Keim called the vote “an extraordinary step” but one to push harder for accountability because “business as usual cannot continue.”

The communications director at DHHS told TV5: “Following today’s vote by the Government Oversight Committee, the Department will share the requested documents with OPEGA as soon as possible. When the Department receives a subpoena from the Government Oversight Committee for these confidential records, the Department will work with the Attorney General’s Office to review it and respond appropriately. In the meantime, the Department will continue to advance the important work of improving the child welfare system to support Maine children and families.”

Committee members will review the files at their next meeting on October 19.