Maine DHHS launches online resource for families and pilots new tool during Child Abuse Prevention Month

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The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said it has launched an online resource for Maine families.

Access Maine East an online guide to programs and resources that includes information on meeting basic needs, such as nutrition and childcare, as well as domestic violence support, mental health and addictions resources, and other programs, complementing Maine 211 Directory.

Access Maine is part of the OCFS Federal Family First Prevention Services Act plan, which expands prevention services to help keep children and families healthy and safe and prevent children’s need for be entrusted to the care and custody of the State.

In September 2021, Maine became the first New England state to gain approval to implement Family First and will receive approximately $2.4 million in additional federal funding per year.

Additionally, during Child Abuse Prevention Month, the OCFS is piloting a new online portal for selected mandated journalists to submit reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. The portal is only available to categories of mandated journalists who are authorized by law to report non-emergency electronically: healthcare professionals, hospitals and hospital staff, school staff and law enforcement. ‘order. The OCFS is promoting the new portal to these professionals, with the intention of extending the tool to all mandated registrants in the future.

Anyone in Maine, including mandated reporters, can continue to call the 24-hour child protection hotline at 1-800-452-1999 to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect.

The Mills administration upgraded the child protection hotline system as part of systematic improvements at the OCFS, including replacing Maine’s automated child protection information system, decades old, by a new system, Katahdin, in January 2022.

The administration also created a background check unit to improve investigations and made major changes to the admissions process.

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