AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee on Friday directed a watchdog group to look into how Maine licenses and regulates child care providers.

The issue was raised by State Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, and State Rep. Richard Farnsworth, D-Portland, co-chairs of the Health and Human Services Committee. Craven is also a member of the Government Oversight Committee. 

On Friday, Craven told the committee that she had been approached by current and former Department of Health and Human Services workers who were concerned about the treatment of “front-line” DHHS staff and a lack of follow-through on complaints regarding child care providers.

Child care complaints also have been in the news in recent months after a Lyman day care was found to have abused some of its children.  

Because the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability already has plans to look into the work environment and culture at DHHS, committee members agreed to move that part of Craven and Farnsworth’s request under that work plan. 

They voted unanimously to direct OPEGA to start a new review of child care licensing and regulation.

The committee will discuss at its next meeting how high of a priority that new review should be.

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