Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman 17th Annual Report 2019.
Alberi, Christine E.
Maine Office of Child Welfare Services Ombudsman.
State Resource Technical Report
Maine Office of Child Welfare Services Ombudsman
P.O. Box 2057
Hope, ME 04847
Tel: 866-621-0758 207-213-477
The Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman office investigates general complaints to ensure that the State's response to children's needs is equitable and efficient. The 2019 Ombudsman's report reports data for the period of October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. Findings indicate in Fiscal Year 2019, 611 inquiries were made to the Ombudsman Program, an increase of 6 inquires from the previous fiscal year. As a result of these inquiries, 109 cases were opened for review (18%), 329 cases were given information or referred for services elsewhere (54%), and 173 cases were unassigned (28%). An unassigned case is the result of an individual who initiated contact with the Ombudsman Program, but who then did not complete the intake process. The highest number of contacts were from parents, followed by grandparents, then other relatives/friends, and 19% of the contacts learned about the program through the Ombudsman website or prior contact with the office. Of the open cases, 52% of the 192 involved male children, 65% of the children were age 8 and younger, the highest number of opened cases were in the Augusta district (19%), and the highest number of complaints in the Children’s Services Units were regarding foster care reunification, kinship care, and placement. In the area of Child Protective Services, the highest number of complaints related to investigations, policies, and safety plans. During the reporting period, the Ombudsman Program closed 98 cases that had been opened for review that included 146 complaints. Of the complaints, 5 were found to be valid and were resolved, 30 were found to be valid and were not resolved, and 111 were found not to be valid. Policy and practice recommendations are made, and responses from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services are reported.
Maine; child welfare services; statistics; child welfare reform; ombudspersons; program evaluations; child protective services; investigations; foster children; family reunification