The Maine Department of Social Services said Thursday it was evaluating child safety policies in the state following four deaths of young children.
The children were all 4 years of age or younger and all died within the past month due to accidents or injuries. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said it asked Casey Family Programs, a child welfare foundation, to help it investigate the children’s deaths.
The department said it is also asking the foundation to help it assess security policies and come up with new policy recommendations.
The social services department said it will also step up education campaigns in response to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The department said Maine and other states are experiencing more mental health and addiction issues, including among parents and children, during this stage of the pandemic.
Maine is offering people who were part of the state’s unemployment system $ 1,500 if they re-enter the workforce within the next two weeks.
Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the department, said the state would work to “ensure families in Maine have access to the support they need to cope with the significant stress of the pandemic.”
Maine has made changes to its child welfare system in recent years. The murders of Marissa Kennedy, 10, and Kendall Chick, 4, exposed the flaws in the system and led to reforms.