Members of the "Silent No More Against Maine DHHS" Facebook group protest in Augusta
Members of a newly-formed Facebook group were at the State House Wednesday protesting the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Nearly 30 of them were there, saying the system is deeply flawed.
"I think if we speak in numbers, I think eventually things will change,” said co-founder, Doreen Madore.
Members of the Facebook group, "Silent No More Against Maine DHHS" rallied in front of the State House Wednesday.
The group was formed earlier this year with the goal of giving a voice to those who have dealt with DHHS in the past.
"I wish I had found this group sooner when DHHS had stepped in so I could understand my rights” said Angelica Calcia of Fairfield. “I have asked DHHS over and over again what my rights are. When you go to jail they tell you your rights. If you go to family court they tell you your rights. DHHS refuses to tell me any rights I have."
Doreen Madore is one of the founders of the group, which now has over 300 members.
Madore says the group is a safe place for members to share their stories and speak out.
She says many here are just calling for change.
"I'm hoping that DHHS will finally listen to our words, listen to what we are saying, reunite families, it should not take 2-5 years, especially for newborns and babies that need to be connecting with their parents,” said Madore.
In a statement to TV5 News, a representative of DHHS says they welcome feedback from all those who interact with the Department, as they work to improve the lives of Maine children and families.
They say children's safety is their top priority, and their dedicated caseworkers must always balance that against the goal of reunifying youth with relatives whenever possible.
But, those in the group say they haven't seen the evidence of that within their own families, so they're doing their best to get their voices heard.
"Enough is enough, if it's about the children,” said Madore. “You say Maine is the place to raise children, I'm telling everybody no. Don't do it. It's time for people to start speaking up."
Here is the full statement from DHHS: "We welcome feedback from all those who interact with the Department, as well as the broader community, as we work to improve the lives of Maine children and families. Children’s safety is our top priority, and our dedicated caseworkers must always balance that against the goal of reunifying youth with relatives whenever possible. We continue to take action to reform the child welfare system to serve the best interests of Maine children."