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St. Andre homes for unwed mothers to lose 90 percent of their funding, close 3 facilities

BIDDEFORD, Maine — On Easter Sunday in 1940, the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also known as the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec, founded Saint Andre Home to provide housing for unwed mothers. At that time, because of the stigma of unwed motherhood, the sisters provided a place …
 Ester Attean, the co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, presents on the history of Maine's Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the United South and Eastern Tribes Inc. board meeting.

Panelists talk with Maine tribes about trauma of foster care, separation from families

BAR HARBOR, Maine — The organizers of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission hope the work they have done uncovering the stories of tribal members who were involved with the child welfare system will inspire other states to tackle such an undertaking. “One of our dreams would …

Lawmaker proposes legislation to re-establish county child family services office in Dover-Foxcroft

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A state legislator from Newport has submitted a proposal to reinstate the Child and Family Services office in Dover-Foxcroft that was closed nearly 10 years ago. Republican Ken Fredette has proposed LR 121, “An Act to Ensure Adequate Child and Family Protective Services Throughout the State,” to …

Plight of grandfamilies scrutinized

AUGUSTA – There was no shortage of sad and tragic stories being told Wednesday by grandfamilies from around the state, many with either substance abuse or mental illness at their heart. One woman told of gaining custody of her 4-year-old grandson only after his mother’s apartment was surrounded by police …

Service providers taking stock of mental health, substance abuse cuts

AUGUSTA, Maine — Agencies that provide services to people with mental health and substance abuse problems started to assess the impact Friday of $13.4 million in cuts to the state’s health and human services budget as part of a $35.5 million curtailment order issued this week by Gov. Paul LePage. …

Despite protest of ‘a terrible bill,’ Senate gives initial approval to DHHS restructuring plan

AUGUSTA, Maine — On the same day lawmakers authorized an investigation of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine House and Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would restructure the department. Many Senate Democrats protested — one even called it “a terrible bill” — but it …

Bar association head leads ‘big tent’ Organization elects Merrill Merchants official as voice for Maine lawyers

BANGOR – In a state where most lawyers consider themselves to be general practitioners, the career path of the new president of the Maine State Bar Association is full of twists and turns. Meris J. Bickford, 52, is a vice president at Merrill Merchants Bank in Bangor, where she is …

Who will think of the kids? Proposed budget cuts threaten state’s pool of foster, adoptive parents

ORONO – Some longtime foster parents are threatening to stop taking displaced children into their homes if Maine lawmakers adopt proposed cuts in the stipends they receive. Upset foster and adoptive parents from seven counties met with state officials in Orono on Thursday to learn more about the threatened cuts …
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Trista Reynolds holds son Raymond Fortier while talking about her missing daughter Ayla Reynolds in Portland on Feb. 15, 2012. Ayla went missing from her father's home in Waterville in December.

Ayla’s mother going on offensive in search for missing girl

PORTLAND, Maine — Trista Reynolds wants to know what happened to her little girl, Ayla Reynolds, but there’s a limit to the details she wants to hear. Reynolds said thinking of what might have happened to Ayla on Dec. 16, 2011 — the day before the then 20-month-old toddler was …
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Kelly Gay, a kindergarten teacher at Ridge View Community School in Dexter, discusses the death of fellow teacher Amy Lake and Lake's two children, Monica and Coty, on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, a day after the murders. On Monday, Lake and her two children were killed by her estranged husband and father of the children, Steven Lake, who then turned the gun on himself. Gay stated that Lake tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for her children, despite the family turnmoil. "Amy was worried about everyone else," Gay said of her friend.

Dexter officer, teachers react to ‘devastating’ deaths

DEXTER, Maine — It was a very concerned Amy Lake who walked into the Dexter police station on March 19 and told officers she was worried about what her estranged husband, Steven Lake, might do to her, their children and her friends. She had filed for a protection from abuse order …

Adoption service group opens office in Bangor

BANGOR – Casey Family Services has opened a new office at 181 State St. in Bangor to provide post-adoption services for local families. The agency has teamed with the Department of Human Services and the University of Southern Maine to create the Adoption Guides Project through which it offers most …

Casey Family Services to shutter offices in Portland and Bangor, lay off 40 workers

PORTLAND, Maine — The closure of Casey Family Services offices in Portland and Bangor will result in the layoffs of more than 40 people and leave “hundreds of families and children” without the specialized foster care programs they’ve become accustomed to, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said Tuesday evening. Brennan, who …
Katrina Mitchell pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child Tuesday morning at Belfast District Court.

Frankfort mom of baby killed by family dog pleads no contest to misdemeanor charge

BELFAST, Maine — The mother of the Frankfort baby mauled to death by the family Rottweiler in April 2011 pleaded no contest Tuesday morning to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child. Katrina Mitchell, 31, of Frankfort spoke quietly in Belfast District Court as Justice Robert Murray …

Group, museum to offer family art programs

Community Health and Counseling Services and Maine Discovery Museum again will hold art programs for children and families, reports Karen Hartnagle of CHCS.

A crisis in caring Dearth of services for adult with disabilities puts Dover-Foxcroft family in bind

At 1 o’clock on a recent sunny afternoon, Jennie Segerson was all prettied up and waiting impatiently to go out. She was dressed in her favorite pink sweat suit and a gray T-shirt spangled with stars, her shiny brown hair pulled back from her face with butterfly barrettes. Her older …
Ethan Kelly, 21, who has cerebral palsy, sits in his home in Appleton, Maine, on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. Ethan's parents, Alden and Lisa Kelly provide full-time care for their son.The Kellys are among the nearly 1,000 families on an ever-growing waiting list for state support services.

Many in Maine feeling effects of cutbacks in social services to disabled

AUGUSTA, Maine — Ethan Kelly, who has cerebral palsy, graduated from high school in June to the cheers of his classmates and friends. Since then, the 21-year-old has been living at home, needing the constant care of his parents. “My wife and I and Ethan, it’s 24-7,” said Alden Kelly, …

Planning board OKs Ellsworth office building

ELLSWORTH – The planning board Wednesday again approved a proposal from a car financing company to construct an office building on Route 1 near the Myrick Street intersection. The proposed 7,000-square-foot building will be the main office for the Atlantic Acceptance Corp., which is the financing wing of Linnehan’s Credit …

Official: 85 percent of elders abused in Maine never report it

BANGOR, Maine — Like many elderly people who have saved for their retirements, Meredith Purcell’s 89-year-old mother thought she was set for life. Now she’s living on her meager Social Security income of $1,300 a month — barely enough to pay for her home in a low-income housing project. According …

Maine Kids-Kin 1 of 14 national grant winners

Maine Kids-Kin is a program of Families and Children Together based in Bangor that assists family members raising a relative’s child, often referred to as “grandfamilies.” Volunteer Joyce …

Mother of slain foster child sues DHS

BANGOR – The mother of a 5-year-old girl who was killed by suffocation while in foster care earlier this year has filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Human Services, its commissioner, several DHS caseworkers, department heads and the child’s foster mother, claiming all acted in bad faith in …