DHHS officials in Maine say they are reviewing the state's child safety policies, after several recent deaths of young children.

It's been a tragic month for children in Maine, with four deaths in the last month of children under the age of 5, who died from accidents or serious injuries.

  • Brewer - Ronald Harding is charged with manslaughter for the death of his 6-month-old son
  • Old Town - Hilary Goding is charged with manslaughter for the death of her 3-year-old daughter
  • Temple - A young boy dies after accidentally shooting himself
  • Stockton Springs - Jessica Williams accused of causing the death of her 3-year-old son

In addition, Thursday's search for a missing 4-year-old from Windham ended with the boy being found deceased. At this point, there's been no indication from law enforcement about his cause of death.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has asked for help from the Casey Family Programs, which is a national leader in improving child safety and the well-being of children. Together, the agencies will review Maine's policies and develop recommendations that could be implemented by the state.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of Maine DHHS called the deaths heartbreaking and deeply concerning.

Every child in Maine deserves to have the opportunity to grow up healthy, to get a good education, and to live a productive, happy, and meaningful life.

In addition to assistance from the Casey Family Programs, the state of Maine will bolster its StrengthenMe initiative, which offers free stress management and resiliency resources to anyone feeling overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone who is concerned about child abuse or neglect can call DHHS' 24-hour hotline at 1-800-452-1999. These calls can remain anonymous.

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