The proposal in the Maine Legislature to separate the Office of Child Services from the Department of Health and Human Services and create a new agency may be well-intentioned, but it is totally misguided.

Before moving to Maine I was an executive with two nonprofit agencies in Connecticut charged with child protection and services, dealing with the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) on a daily basis. There was a reason DCF operated under a consent decree, and had for years. It was a bloated bureaucracy with an annual budget of $900 million and endless layers of management; no one was ever responsible for the many child deaths that occurred on DCF’s watch. A separate agency only creates more bureaucratic confusion.

If the Legislature truly wants to help prevent more child deaths, direct more funds to frontline workers and establish better accountability among OCS staff, child providers and families.

Margaret Nareff
South Portland

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