Watchdog report cites ‘poor job performance’ by DHHS in deaths of Maine children

Marissa Kennedy and Kendall Chick. (Courtesy: Maine Attorney General's Office)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- The Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) released the findings of its investigation Thursday into how the Maine Department of Health and Human Services handled two separate cases of child abuse, resulting in the deaths of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy and 4-year-old Kendall Chick.

OPEGA cited “poor job performance and inadequate supervision appear to have been factors” involving the cases of the two murdered children.

In the findings, OPEGA says it “identified a number of potential areas for concern or improvement in the child protection system.”

The report offers the most comprehensive study of Maine’s child welfare system to be publicly released since the deaths of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February and 4-year-old Kendall Chick in December, according to the BDN.

In one case, OPEGA says the DHHS Office of Child and Family Services "failed to follow policies and procedures in fully assessing the appropriateness of the placement and staying engaged with the child and family to ensure needed services and supports were provided."

"We are unable to say yet, with any certainty, whether potential areas for concern or improvement we have noted might have changed the outcomes for these children. In reality, we may never know that for sure,” the OPEGA report stated.

Read the full report below:

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