The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said it is working with the Casey Family programs to take action after the deaths of four young Maine children in the last month.

The Casey Family Programs works to improve the well-being of children across the nation. They will work with Maine DHHS to investigate the deaths as well as evaluate and offer recommendations for child and family safety in the state. The Casey Family Programs were founded in 1966 to make long lasting improvements to children, their families and communities. Go to their website for more information. 

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will conduct its own review of the incidents, as is standard policy. 

The four children who died in Maine over the last month occurred in Brewer on June 1, Old Town on June 6, Temple, Maine on June 17 and Stockton Springs, June 20. The children were all four years or younger and died from accidents or serious injuries, said Maine DHHS.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said it is also focused on health education campaigns related to heightened mental health issues and substance abuse related to the pandemic. Maine DHHS said it is expanding its StrengthenME campaign which offers stress management for free. The phone number is (207) 221 - 8198. The hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.

“These deaths, like all involving children, are heartbreaking and deeply concerning. Every child in Maine deserves to have the opportunity to grow up healthy, to get a good education, and to live a productive, happy, and meaningful life. When children die, they are robbed of these opportunities and we lose the light, love, and potential of these children,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “This is a call to action. In addition to our own review and ongoing work, we requested Casey Family Programs bring to bear its wealth of experience and national perspective to help us, and we’re bolstering StrengthenME to ensure Maine families have access to the support they need to cope with the significant stresses of the pandemic.”

“The death of a child is a tragic loss for that child’s family, their community, and our state as a whole,” said Todd Landry, Director of the Office of Child and Family Services. “It’s our responsibility as a state and as a society to do everything we can to help children grow up safe and ensure they have the love and attention they need. With the expert assistance of Casey Family Programs, we’ll learn all we can from these recent deaths and continue our work to protect Maine children and support their families.”

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Contact the Maine Department of Health and Human Services anonymously if you have any concerns about the well being of a child. The phone number for the 24-hour hotline is 1-800-452-1999.

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