Maine recently joined a long list of states struggling with challenges in providing consistent and quality foster care to vulnerable children. A recent report highlighted a range of issues ranging from overburdened caseworkers to slow-moving administration.
Caseworkers, who play a vital role in ensuring the welfare of children, described being overworked and struggling to meet the required monthly home visits. Furthermore, front-line workers expressed frustration with a culture that fails to address their concerns and instead looks for scapegoats. Other issues mentioned in the report include policy and practices not being consistently followed and a lack of services for children in care.
Maine's struggles with its foster care system mirror those faced by other states across the country. Maine legislators propose to move foster care to its own state agency, but it is not clear that shuffling personnel will do more than transfer the same old problems. Like most states, Maine needs an overhaul of its culture and budget before the children in its care will see lasting change.