Following Paul LePage’s shameful decision to end a program intended to protect Maine children from child abuse just days after a 10-year-old girl died at the hands of horrific abuse by her parents, we are shining a bright light on the LePage Administration’s complete and utter failure to protect Maine children.

The bottom line here is that the LePage Administration – along with now Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Mayhew – has hurt children in Maine under the guise of fiscal responsibility, passing policies that have made them poorer and hungrier and failing to put in place proper oversight that would have kept them safer.

Here’s the record:

The LePage Administration failed to provide critical oversight of child care facilities endangering children and act on reports of child abuse

DHHS officials under Paul LePage and now Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Mayhew did not adequately respond to warnings that could have prevented the death of a Stockton Springs 10-year-old girl at the hands of abusive parents:

  • Bangor Daily News: “The cleaning woman at the former Bangor apartment building of the parents accused of killing their 10-year-old daughter said she reported possible abuse to authorities. Jill Reid, 45, said she spoke over the phone and texted with a social worker at the Department of Health and Human Services around six or seven times last year because she believed Julio and Sharon Carrillo were neglecting and abusing Marrissa Kennedy, Sharon’s daughter and Julio’s step-daughter.”

This follows previous allegations of the LePage Administration ignoring reports of child abuse:

  • Portland Press Herald: “The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee voted unanimously Friday to investigate the Department of Health and Human Services’ child care licensing division, in which managers have been accused of letting reports of abuse and neglect languish for months or years without acting.”

In fact, it reportedly took more than a year for the LePage Administration to take action against child abuse after discovering it occurred and DHHS brass harassed lower officials for pushing to close unsafe daycares:

  • Portland Press Herald: “The safety of children in Maine's more than 2,000 day care facilities has come under scrutiny since January, when reports of abuse at a day care center in Lyman became public. Documents obtained by the Press Herald revealed that DHHS managers waited more than a year to take action against the Sunshine Child Care & Preschool after inspectors concluded that the abuse occurred.”
  • Portland Press Herald: “White and LaFlamme allege that managers harassed them for pushing to sanction or close day care facilities. White said she is confident that investigators will find proof that managers delayed action on abuse reports. She said everything is meticulously documented, and the facts won't be denied. ‘I know they're going to validate our concerns,’ White said. The unanimous vote signaled strong bipartisan consensus on the committee, which has six Republicans and six Democrats.”

A federal audit later revealed that some the LePage Administration’s oversight of child care facilities was woefully inadequate and left children in danger:

  • Bangor Daily News: “Many of Maine's child care facilities did not obtain criminal history records of employees, held on to breast milk and medication long after it had expired, and let children play near potentially dangerous items such as knives, space heaters and cleaning supplies, according to a federal audit. […] The reports stated that some child care providers did not conduct annual screenings for potential lead hazards, monthly fire drills or have records of rabies certificates for pets at the facility, all of which are required by the state. Also included in the reports were photographs of uncovered electrical outlets, knives stored in unlocked drawers and pet food left out near toys where children played.”

Now, the LePage Administration is taking steps to end a state program aimed at preventing child abuse:

  • Press Herald: “Social service providers slammed the LePage administration for its decision to end a statewide child abuse and neglect prevention program even as Maine has witnessed its second horrific case of child abuse in three months.”

Under Paul LePage and Mary Mayhew’s Failed and Cruel Policies, more Maine children are living in poverty and going hungry 

The LePage Administration took drastic steps to kick Maine families off of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The result? an increase in childhood poverty and hunger:

  • Bangor Daily News: “After the five-year TANF limit took effect in May 2012 — part of the first two-year state budget signed by LePage — the number of families receiving assistance dropped immediately. […] Even as the economy has begun to recover, statewide poverty rates haven’t improved. Child poverty is still higher than it was before the recession, and extreme poverty among the state’s children — those living in families with incomes at half the federal poverty level — has grown.”
  • Portland Press Herald: “During her six years as Maine commissioner of health and human services, Mary Mayhew has liked to talk about ‘the truly needy.’ […] It certainly couldn’t have meant children: The rate of children living in deep poverty, or $800 in income a month for a family of three, has skyrocketed under her watch, growing eight times faster than the national average.”

The LePage Administration broke federal law by misspending money intended to support low-income families with children on other programs:

  • Bangor Daily News: “The state auditor’s finding, released Tuesday, follows the Bangor Daily News’ reporting in June that found DHHS spent funds earmarked for low-income families with children on seniors and disabled Mainers. The department ‘took an overly aggressive approach’ that signals ‘troublesome’ practices when it comes to managing federal grant awards, wrote Maine State Auditor Pola Buckley in a rare report highlighting ‘improper management of funds at the agency level that should rise to the attention of the Governor, the Attorney General and the Legislature.’”

And the LePage Administration – particularly former DHHS Commissioner and now Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Mayhew – knew what they were doing was illegal:

  • Bangor Daily News: “More than 300 pages of internal DHHS emails released to the BDN earlier this year also showed that staff members in then-Commissioner Mary Mayhew’s office were aware that federal law prohibited their use of the federal welfare funds on services for the elderly. They also had warnings from state finance staff that the spending was questionable. Mayhew later promoted the staff member who oversaw the spending, Sheryl Peavey, then DHHS’ director of strategic reform, to the top position at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, chief operating officer.”

The LePage Administration, however, continues to stockpile funding that could help low-income families while children go hungry:

  • Portland Press Herald: “Since 2012, when Gov. Paul LePage and his allies successfully established a 60-month lifetime cap on federal welfare benefits, Maine has drastically reduced both its caseload and its spending. The state still gets the same amount every year under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant program – about $78 million – but instead of shifting that extra money to other areas designed to assist low-income families with children, Maine has mostly sat on it. In less than five years, the LePage administration has quietly stockpiled $155 million in unspent TANF funds, according to state budget data, an unused balance that has grown at a rate higher than any other state in that time. Maine’s total as a percentage of annual grant funding is among the highest in the country as well. Meanwhile, extreme childhood poverty – defined as families making less than 50 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $10,000 – has increased in Maine during that time.”