Child Protective Cases in Maine


There is nothing more frightening or more overwhelming than when the Department of Health and Human Services becomes involved in the lives of your child or children.  It is every parent’s worst nightmare to have the State push their way into the family home, tell you that you are a failure as a parent, and snatch up your kids.  Unfortunately, this is something that happens every day in every state of this country. Maine is no exception.  It happens to good parents, to troubled parents, and to “bad” parents.  As most people know, the Department of Health and Human Services, or DHHS for short, is a government monster that does just this.
When the Department does become involved in your family’s lives, it is usually surrounding one of only a few situations.  Most common amongst those are drug and alcohol addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence, imprisonment, and neglect and abuse.  Overwhelmingly, the families affected by the Department’s actions are not rich.  Of course, there are exceptions to this but the awful truth is that poor folk are the ones most affected.  When you live in poverty, it can be hard to find services for mental health and addiction, it can be hard to figure out how to find transportation, it can be hard to escape a domestic violence situation.  These days fewer and fewer of us live with a support system in place.  Families are scattered across the state and country, neighbors do not know each other and do not support each other, and many organizations that historically have been there for families just are not there anymore.  Couple this with an extreme lack of State services and a current crippling opiate epidemic, many families are just left floating, lost with no foreseeable solutions.  This is typically the position families find themselves in when DHHS becomes involved.
So, your family has DHHS in their lives, what should you do? Fortunately, in Maine, most people who find themselves in this situation qualify for a court-appointed attorney.  What can an attorney do for you?  The answer is that an attorney can do a lot.  First, an attorney in a child protective matter acts as a guide, working to help you understand exactly what is going on factually and procedurally, helps you identify your goals and helps you realize those goals.  An attorney also holds DHHS accountable for their own demands and moves the case through the court system.  An attorney helps identify services, makes certain the State is supporting those services and helps reunify you with your children as fast as possible.  In short, when the State is involved, an attorney can be your closest protector and support.  An attorney can help you regain hope and help get your kids back.
If you find yourself with DHHS in your home, remember that they do not have all the power.  You have the ability to take back control of your life and the lives of your children and an attorney will help you do this.
Andrew Wright
Attorney at Law
16 Union St
Suite 104
Brunswick, ME 04011

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