LD 328
Session - 129th Maine Legislature
LR 454
Item 1
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

An Act To Institute Safe Children Court Team Programs

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 4 MRSA c. 8-C  is enacted to read:



§ 441 Establishment

1 Programs.   The Judicial Department may establish safe children court team programs in the Superior Courts and District Courts and may adopt administrative orders and court rules to govern the practice, procedure and administration of these programs.
2 Purpose.   The purpose of the safe children court team programs established under subsection 1 is to use community knowledge to find local solutions that meet the developmental needs of children who enter into the child protection system, especially the developmental needs of children in foster care.
3 Collaboration.   The following shall collaborate with and, to the extent possible, provide financial assistance to the Judicial Department in establishing and maintaining safe children court team programs established under subsection 1:
A District attorneys, the Department of the Attorney General and statewide organizations representing prosecutors;
B Attorneys who represent parents in child protection proceedings, including statewide organizations representing such attorneys;
C The Department of Health and Human Services;
D The Department of Public Safety;
E The Department of Education; and
F Local service agencies.

§ 442 Programs

1 Coordinator of Safe Children Court Team Programs.   The Judicial Department shall employ a Coordinator of Safe Children Court Team Programs. The Coordinator of Safe Children Court Team Programs shall help the Judicial Department establish, staff, coordinate, operate and evaluate safe children court team programs established under this chapter.
2 Core components.   The core components of the safe children court team programs established under this chapter include the following:
A Judicial leadership in focusing on achieving timely, permanent resolution of child placement issues and resolving the issues that brought families into the system;
B A development specialist with education and expertise in developmental psychology;
C A team of key community stakeholders who commit to restructuring the way the community responds to the needs of children who are subject to abuse or neglect;
D Comprehensive services offered to each child, including screening for developmental delays and disabilities, medical care and mental health services that focus on the parent-child relationship;
E Services addressing the needs of parents and the wide variety of traumatic stressors in parents' lives;
F Concurrent planning that places equal emphasis on supporting a 2nd permanent family if reunification is ruled out;
G Training and support for the foster parents, mentors and extended family prior to and while foster parents are engaged with a child and the child's family;
H Preremoval conferences and monthly family team meetings, the purpose of which is to resolve issues that may lead to removal of a child from home;
I Frequent family time to permit a child and parent to maintain their bond and to improve the parent's responsiveness to the child's needs;
J A continuum of mental health services to provide intervention applicable to the specific characteristics of the parent and child as well as the level of preexisting trauma in their relationship and in the parent's own childhood experiences. Recommended interventions include:

(1) An assessment of the parent-child relationship;

(2) In-the-moment opportunities to help parents successfully respond to their child's behavior;

(3) Visit coaching;

(4) Appropriate parenting intervention; and

(5) Child-parent psychotherapy; and

K Training and technical assistance for the program community and continuous quality improvement and evaluation planning.


This bill authorizes the Judicial Department to establish safe children court team programs, modeled on the "Safe Babies Court Team" approach supported by the Quality Improvement Center for Research-based Infant-Toddler Court Teams funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. The purpose is to develop a community-based system to provide local systems and services for children and families that interact with the State's child protection system. The core components of such programs are listed.

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