Lawmakers need as much information about child death cases as possible, as soon as possible

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State officials must continue to identify and address problems in Maine’s child welfare system to better protect children and families.

The truth is that heartbreaking, infuriating failures have occurred in this system under both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades. We are confident in saying, despite some differing opinions about what to do about it, that officials across the political spectrum all want to prevent future tragedies.

That recognition must be front and center as the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee gets set to meet Wednesday and discuss potential next steps in a disagreement with the administration of Gov. Janet Mills over access to certain child protective case files. The committee has sought the files from four recent child deaths with parents accused of killing their children. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has denied that request, pointing to confidentiality issues and the risk of jeopardizing ongoing prosecutions.

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