Helping children and families
Child Protective Services plays an invaluable role in ensuring that children in Maine who are at imminent risk of abuse or neglect receive intervention, and if necessary, are removed from unsafe circumstances in the home. Yet, not enough attention or resources have been given to prevention and early intervention services that could significantly reduce the number of children needing to come into state care.
When families experience persistent stressful circumstances — like living in poverty, struggling with substance use disorder, or experiencing domestic violence — it can lead to families in crisis, unable to function in a healthy way.
When parents experiencing this kind of stress are unable to provide the kind of nurturing, stable relationships children need to thrive, it affects a child’s healthy development. Without stable, nurturing relationships and positive environments for children, there can be long-term negative consequences for their health, development and learning.
When families are in crisis, we need to ensure they have supports that alleviate the stressful circumstances that are weighing them down and preventing them from being successful. By making health care, employment assistance and parent coaching available, we can help stabilize, strengthen and keep these families together. By identifying these needs and providing them before a family is in real crisis, before a child is at imminent risk, we can reduce the need for children to be removed, and ensure more children are able to grow and thrive with their families. That’s better for children, their families and our state.
Communications and policy associate
Maine Children’s Alliance
Stand up to Israel
The recent, laudatory press about Don Gellers, who helped initiate Maine’s Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, highlighted his work to help an oppressed people regain their rights. How ironic, then, that Gellers subsequently moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Force, one of whose main tasks has been to keep the oppressed Palestinians corralled in their concentration camps while Israel stole their homes and land.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said the U.S. was trying to get Iran to behave like a normal country. When will we insist upon that for Israel? When will we stop enabling their oppression? Rather than trying to initiate an economic coup in Iran and threatening to cut funds to American colleges that don’t suppress criticism of Israel’s policies (i.e., freedom of speech), when will the U.S. withhold funds from Israel until it behaves like a normal country?
Until it does right by the Palestinians? And when will we — when will the world — care as much about Israel’s flouting of international law as we seem to when other bad actors flout it?
Susan Collins’ cowardice
Let us call Sen. Susan Collins’ sudden coquettishness about her political affiliation by its correct name: cowardice.
Hooray for heat pump rebates
Thank you to Gov. Janet Mills for increasing the rebates for heat pumps. We all need to address the climate crisis now with as many alternative energy sources as possible.
Change starts at home, Mainers.
US economy is not ‘best’
We didn’t hear President Donald Trump crow about December’s jobs report, issued last Friday, because there was little to crow about. Non-farm payrolls rose by only 145,000, and the manufacturing sector cut payrolls by 12,000 in December.
Hiring in 2019 was the slowest since 2011 when President Barack Obama was in his first term, and we were slowly emerging from the Great Recession. Trumps touts the low unemployment rate, taking all the credit for a trend that’s been in place for a decade. But that’s not the whole story.
According to the Brookings Institution, 53 million workers aged 18-64 (44 percent of the workforce) earn barely enough to live on, with median earnings at $10.22 an hour. That’s $18,000 a year. And most of these low-wage jobs are not held by a high school student flipping burgers for gas money. Nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers are in their prime working years of 25-54, the institute said in a recently released report. About half are primary earners and contribute substantially to family living expenses.
These are not just faceless statistics. They’re your neighbors and others in your community. When they struggle, we all lose.
Keep these numbers in mind when you hear this president proclaiming that he’s responsible for the “ best economy ever.” The stock market is not the economy.
Mary Ann Larson