After 27 years, Maine still fails to comply with the court-ordered decree to improve treatment of the state’s mentally ill
First in a three-part series. In April, while incarcerated at the Maine State Prison’s Intensive Mental Health Unit in Warren, James Staples removed his own eyeball. The 66-year-old prisoner, who has a lengthy history of both mental illness and assault and had...
Second in a three-part series. Click here to read part one. Advocates for the mentally ill believe state government’s refusal to appropriate enough money to meet the demands of the 1990 “consent decree,” the court order requiring proper treatment of seriously...
Third in a three-part series. Click here to read part one. Critics of how Maine deals with potentially violent mentally ill adults point out that these people can be dealt with at either the “front end” — in the community — or the “back end” — in the mental...
AUGUSTA — A Maine bill reinforcing federal requirements for training and certification to do renovation work on buildings containing lead is dead, leaving unresolved questions about the safety of renovating homes in Maine that contain lead paint or plumbing. The Maine...
Seeking to reduce the instances of Mainers getting lead poisoning due to careless renovations, a lawmaker introduced a proposal March 7 to require EPA training and certification in lead-safe removal methods for contractors working on older buildings. Sen. Nathan Libby, a Democrat from Lewiston — which has the most severe lead paint problem in the state — introduced a bill to require EPA training and certification in lead-safe removal methods for at least one person on contracting crews that perform maintenance or renovation work on buildings built before 1978, when lead paint was still legal to use.
When senior reporter Naomi Schalit began her nine months of research for our series on Maine’s single parents in poverty, one of her first stops was Isabel Sawhill’s office at the Brookings Institution. You’ll find many quotes from Sawhill in Schalit’s five-part series; here is the complete interview transcript.
Part 1: In one of the most in-depth series that the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting has ever published, Senior Reporter Naomi Schalit discovers and calls attention to a dramatic change in the Maine family — a 500 percent increase in the proportion of children born to single parents in the last 43 years. Nearly half of all births in the state are now to mothers who are not married.
Because most of those single parents can’t afford to raise a child — or two or three children — they are destined to live in poverty. And when children are raised in that kind of poverty and deprivation, their brains are literally harmed, setting the stage for a lifetime of negative effects, according to the experts interviewed by Schalit.
At a time when poverty and welfare have become polarizing political issues in Maine, the very people who know the most about this problem don’t want to talk frankly about it for fear of backlash against the parents and children they are trying to help. It took nine months of digging into the problem — interviews with national experts, days spent with single mothers, time in the state prison with single fathers and repeated visits with teachers, social workers and public officials — for Schalit to bring forward this essential story.
Part 2: The story of one single mother speaks to the struggles shared by many single parents in Maine. “Every week’s the same,” she said. “I’m always broke. The electric, internet, diapers, toiletries, food when we run out of my food card…”
Part 3: Veteran teachers and school officials are on the front lines of the crisis of the growth of children coming from poor families, many with just one parent at home. Their experiences show the impact of the changing face of the Maine family.
Part 4: The story of the fathers who are rarely there. Interviews with men at the Maine State Prison who have one or more children with women to whom they are not married.