Senate unanimously passes funding bill for Ombudsman's Office

By  | 

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A bill to increase funding for the office that provides oversight on the child welfare system got unanimous approval Monday in the Maine Senate.

After hearing from constituents that only one person in the Ombudsman's Office was not enough, Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, introduced this bill to allow the office to create more positions.

The Ombudsman's Office investigates complaints about DHHS regarding to the system itself.

The child welfare system has faced steep criticism after high profile cases of child deaths due to abuse or neglect.

"I brought this bill forward at the request of constituents, including foster families and people very involved with DHHS, who say there needs to be permanent and ongoing resources for oversight of the system itself," said Bellows. "That's what the Ombudsman's Office does. One person can't do it alone. That's why we need to increase it be at least four positions."

The bill also received unanimous support in the House.

It now goes to the Appropriations table to see if it can be funded.