LEWISTON, Maine — A woman set to enroll in the state’s ASPIRE program said she was turned away from the orientation when she brought her 8-week-old baby.
Laura Catevenis, 23, told the Sun Journal she showed up for the 90-minute orientation with her 8-week-old daughter, Lydia, who she said breast-feeds hourly and won’t drink from a bottle.
Catevenis, who has an associate degree and wants to go back to school, said DHHS officials told her no children allowed, and wouldn’t make an exception for the infant.
A DHHS spokeswoman defended the policy, saying the program demands participants’ full attention.
“(To qualify for ASPIRE), either Dad’s not in the picture or Mom’s not in the picture,” Catevenis told the Sun Journal. “People work all day long. Who’s going to watch her, that you trust with a newborn?”
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