BANGOR, Maine -- Hillary Goding appeared in the court Thursday to change her plea at the Penobscot Judicial Center, Sept. 29, 2022. Goding pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection to the death of her three-year-old child, Hailey, in June 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

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After reading the Feb. 11-12 BDN article about the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) findings regarding Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) interventions for Hailey Goding to maintain her safety, my question to DHHS asks who was the voice for this little girl.

The interventions for the mother were, in some cases, self voluntary including the CradleMe Program for new and expecting mothers. Yet this was the program recommended to Hailey’s mother after her positive drug screen at the time of Hailey’s birth. Repeatedly, over the next several years were documented events that demonstrated Hailey’s mother was struggling with personal events that impacted Hailey.

In my role as a guardian ad litem, I was the voice for children who were at risk for neglect or abuse. In every instance, these children are loved by their parent(s), but in every case the children needed my voice to represent them and their emotional, physical needs. It appears we have ventured down a path that prevents these vulnerable children from being safe. Death is a horrific consequence of a child not having a voice.

Margaret Capehart