The Maine State House is seen on Dec. 2, 2020, in Augusta. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A Superior Court justice has denied a request by the Maine Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee to obtain confidential child welfare records.

The committee sued to gain access to the records of four children who died in 2021 as it investigated the state’s child protective services.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services had refused to provide the records to the committee due to state and federal confidentiality laws.

In his ruling issued Monday, Maine Superior Court Justice William Stokes agreed that the committee does not have legal standing to access the records.

DHHS has sent the confidential files to the independent Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability for review. OPEGA will share its findings with lawmakers.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.