Maine Children's Trust Policy PrioritiesEvidence shows that when Maine invests strategically in upstream programs to strengthen families, children experience better outcomes, communities thrive and the state is able to save critical taxpayer dollars on more costly interventions down the road. In partnership with parents, policymakers, and other government and community partners, the Trust is committed to a range of equitable effective policies and services that are proven to support and strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. Prioritizing and investing in the following prevention strategies is everyone's responsibility -- and is a critical first step in ensuring that all Maine families have the opportunity to thrive.
- Raise Public Awareness and Support for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention in Maine: With the right supports, improving child and family well-being in Maine is possible, but building sustained investments in family support programs begins with widespread public awareness that we all have a role. We know that everyone who lives in Maine has an interest in supporting child and family well-being - we all want to live in a place where our families thrive.
- Strengthen Coordination of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Efforts: Policy makers and other state partners must work together to prioritize and better coordinate primary prevention policies in order to optimize vital government resources and improve the state's capacity to implement and scale effective prevention strategies and programs.
- Expand Family Support Services through Maine Families Home Visiting and Maine's Prevention Councils: Increased funding to stabilize and grow the prevention workforce will help ensure vital services such as parenting education, developmental playgroups, and other services to support healthy children and prevent child abuse and neglect are available for all interested families.
- Expand Access to Other Critical Prevention and Family Support Programs: Research shows that a range of coordinated, evidence-based programs work together to produce better outcomes for children and families. These include early childhood interventions, economic supports and family-friendly workplace policies. Sustained policy support and funding for these critical programs mean increased safety for children and economic stability for families.
Maine Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention CouncilsMaine Children's Trust has supported the prevention efforts of the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Councils since the 1990's with grant funding, public awareness and technical assistance. Since 2015, the Maine Department of Human Services has executed agreements with the Trust to lead and coordinate a statewide project to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this effort, the Trust supports the Prevention Councils in their statutory role as the county-level coordinating entity to lead and deliver child abuse prevention efforts. The Prevention Council statute guides the Trust in providing central statewide leadership, strengthen the network and ensure ongoing delivery of free evidence-based and evidence-informed child abuse programming in every county in Maine. A toolkit has been developed to guide data evaluation, integrate data with community feedback and develop prevention plans and priorities. The Trust provides a centralized data system, core programming training and technical assistance to ensure consistency in service delivery, as well as model fidelity. Each Prevention Council has a local Advisory Board/Committee comprised of diverse community leaders to include businesses, legislators/policymakers, parents/caregivers, providers, and other family-serving professionals. Over 300 community members serve across the state in this role working to support their local communities to ensure child and family well-being and primary prevention efforts are focused on. To connect with your local Prevention Council please visit our local resources map here. Funding for the Prevention Councils is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Child and Family Services.
Maine Families Home VisitingThe family visiting model developed and delivered by Maine Families is designed to promote child and family well-being. Maine Families uses current information regarding child development, health, safety, and nutrition that is based in sound research and practical knowledge of human development and public health. The program supports expectant families and families of newborns statewide. Maine Families' goals for enrolled children and families include:
- Nurturing families and their relationships
- Promoting positive and effective parenting
- Encouraging healthy living, considering all aspects of development
- Providing guidance in creating positive and creative learning environments
- Protecting children from violence, abuse and neglect
- Protecting children from preventable illness and injury
- Providing connections to needed resources and the community
- Encouraging family self-sufficiency