AUGUSTA – Maine’s legislative watchdog is calling for more transparency into how the state spends federal welfare dollars.

The watchdog’s report released Thursday finds Maine has accumulated $148 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Family funds.

Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Director Beth Ashcroft. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Director Beth Ashcroft said Maine’s human services agency didn’t provide any written documentation about its decision-making process.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton said in a letter some documentation would be valuable.

The report found groups of Mainers receiving temporary benefits declined 70 percent from 2010 to 2017. In 2011, Maine followed federal law prohibiting families from receiving over 60 months of assistance.

Maine is fighting $20 million in federal penalties because not enough families receiving assistance met work participation rates from 2007 to 2011.

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