Governor LePage signs child welfare bills into law

By  | 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine's governor has signed into law a package of reforms to the state's child welfare system.

Governor LePage signed the four bills into law Friday.

One law sets aside $21.2 million for 16 new caseworkers, 16 new supervisors, greater reimbursements for foster parents, caseworker pay hikes and part of a new computer system.

LePage and lawmakers pressed for the 11th-hour bills after the deaths of two girls, 4-year-old Kendall Chick in December in Wiscasset and 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in Stockton Springs in February.

Lawmakers also agreed to a change of wording when it comes to keeping families together in child endangerment cases. The new law calls for "reasonable efforts" to keep families together instead of making it a "priority" under previous language.