Maybe you remember reading about the 133 special-needs adults who died while in Maine Department of Health and Human Services care.

Those deaths occurred over a period of less than 2½ years, on the watch of Gov. Paul LePage and then-DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

What happened? We don’t know. The reason we don’t know is that not one of those deaths was ever investigated.

Just to give you some perspective, next time you’re in Merrill Auditorium, look up. That first tier holds 132 patrons. Add one more seat, and you will have some idea of what a group of 133 individuals looks like. Give “those people” faces and they look very much like the rest of us.

I know families with adult children in DHHS care. My own daughter will be joining them when I die, maybe before.

We parents lie awake at night worrying about what’s going to happen to our kids. Some of us are hoping that our adult child will predecease us. We’d like to believe that our sons and daughters in DHHS care will never be abused or neglected, bullied or degraded. But that is something we do not know. Simply put, we are frightened.

Sally Hinckley

South Portland


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