Lawmakers discuss bill aimed at bringing children back to Maine who have been sent to other states for mental health and behavioral services

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) A public hearing was held on a bill Friday aimed at bringing over 50 Maine kids with mental health and behavioral problems back to our state.

We're told these kids have been shipped out of state for services because Maine doesn't have adequate staffing to serve them.

This bill would require that the Department of Health and Human Services make plans to bring all of the children back to Maine.

It would increase funds so providers can hire and retain the staff necessary to provide all of the services needed.

"As a parent, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish of having my child, who is not only in need of therapeutic behavioral health care, but also in need of her parents, to be placed so far away from me and the people she loves," said Rep. Lori Gramlich, D-Old Orchard Beach, the bill's sponsor.

Supporters also say that serving kids in-state costs significantly less than when the kids are served out-of-state.