Update: On March 30, 2021, The Maine legislature voted LD 396 Ought Not to Pass. We continue our advocacy for children in low-income families so they are connected to resources instead of being separated from their parents.

On March 2, 2021, Civil Rights Project Director Mary L. Bonauto submitted testimony supporting LD 396, “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Provide Assistance with Applications for Basic Necessities To Prevent Children Being Removed from Parental Custody.”

This legislation addresses the inequity of a system that removes children from their families due to lower income levels instead of providing support. Current policy disproportionately affects Black and Brown families in Maine due to poverty rates being higher among African American, followed by Latinx, Asian American, and Indigenous residents. This bill would help families access existing programs to improve stability, stay together, and prevent needless trauma caused by separation.

Read Mary Bonauto’s full testimony here.