We were alarmed and dismayed to learn that the Fund for a Healthy Maine is again being targeted for cuts. For one thing, the Fund for a Healthy Maine helps first-time parents in all Maine counties receive home visits. Franklin County’s program is a collaboration between Franklin County Children’s Task Force and Franklin Memorial Hospital. The program is Growing Healthy Families.

GHF provides parenting services and home visits prenatally and for children up to 5 years of age.

These services are part of Maine’s primary prevention plan to address child abuse in our state. According to Maine’s Kid Count (2006) there were 8,728 reports of child abuse and neglect which warranted Child Protective Services in 2004. Funds for a Healthy Maine are allocated in part to provide services that are research-based and prevent child abuse.

Our legislators need to know that citizens of Maine want to stop child abuse in our state before it happens.

The Fund for a Healthy Maine is working.

We see it in Franklin County when we look at data from hundreds of home visits provided to first-time parents annually. We hear it from parents who tell us these services changed their lives as alternatives to abusive behavior were offered and explained.

We all must urge the Appropriations Committee to reject all proposals that would divert money from the Fund for a Healthy Maine or use the money for other purposes.

Toni Kuehn, Temple, GHF program manager

Renee Blanchet, Farmington, FCCTF executive director

Franklin County Children’s Task Force

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