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Breaking News and Broken Promises

  Editor: This was a long post and a great one. Remember the first Star Wars where you got to meet Darth Vader? In this post you got to meet a real life villain. In my opinion you got to meet someone who does not care what happens to kids, whose only concern is for political advancement and if he has to lift himself up by stepping on kids his only comment will be “Hold still you little brat!” Excuse the outburst, I get angry when anyone tries to hurt kids. Tom Maher

The post may be gone, but the attempt to hurt foster and adoptive kids goes on.


January 31st, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Foster Children | 5 comments


  1. Dear Ed:

    So you seem to be expressing some anger. That’s fine. When we feel a little calmer perhaps we could discuss how others are feeling and what they may be thinking.

    In the meantime, may the power be with you,


    P.S. I don’t see villains here. In fact, I agree with the ultimate objectives described by the speakers on Wednesday evening. The fatal flaw, as I see it, is in the process of getting us from here to there. Using budget exigencies to justify a bloody revolution is a betrayal of trust for those choldren and caregivers currently in the system. We need a measured, might we say systematic, approach – more like titrating a treatment down rather than d/c ing it abruptly.

    Comment by Mark | January 31, 2008

  2. Mark Katz of Hallowell, ME
    Feb 1, 2008 10:19 AM
    Friday morning, Feb. 1, Commissioner Harvey of DHHS testified before the Appropriations and Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services regarding the bad hand Maine is being dealt by the federal Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services, CMS. Under the current administration, CMS is rule-making beyond their authority and is turning State run programs and services topsy-turvy.

    Senator Brannigan, Chair of the HHS committee, properly implored Maine citizens and stake-holders to contact members of our congressional delegation IMMEDIATELY to resist these changes.

    The hearing quickly progressed to discussion and testimony relating to cuts proposed in the Governor’s Supplemental Budget in response to previously forecast budget shortfalls.

    Unlike much of the mean-spirited, ignorant, and reactive opinion currently expressed in our local opinion pages, our elected officials and cabinet members are working diligently in committee to clarify and to receive public testimony on critically urgent questions regarding competing priorities.

    Ultimately, philosophies of government and values will guide outcomes. On a practical level, we can only hope that planning horizons extend beyond the coming fiscal year and that Maine’s vision of “self” takes precedence over quick fixes.

    Streamlining must not be allowed to become the public equivalent of mainlining, the addict’s quick fix – always life threatening,reft of hope, and gravid with hidden social costs.

    Finally, children are not Slinkys. Once traumatized by abuse and neglect they are NOT resilient. They do not spring back or recover readily. We can not afford to measure services by efficiency without emphasizing and ensuring effectiveness

    Comment by Mark | February 1, 2008

  3. My friend Frank O’Hara is a small-business owner who believes in planning. Frank O’ believes that solid planning prepares and strengthens us to make good decisions when we have many needs and limited budgets. He is good at this. Not only has he grown a successful business over the course of more than twenty years, he has also advised and helped others to manage difficult choices during difficult times. He calls his company Planning Decisions. He has assisted governors, municipalities, corporations, and not-for-profit social and health organizations.

    The best of these understand that the alternatives to planning decisions are unplanned decisions. Unplanned decisions are usually notoriously bad decisions like, “Let’s have a war in Iraq,” or “Let’s continue business as usual; there’s still plenty of oil and maybe scientists are wrong about greenhouse effects,” or “Let’s leave health-care to the insurance and pharmaceutical interests to work out in the marketplace.”

    Planning needs to be proactive, not reactive; not a product of procrastination. Planning requires arduous analysis and invocatory imagination. Planners study the trees and see the forests; they look beyond wood-lines to the horizon. Planning is syncretic and top-down; goals and objectives (missions) assume primacy. This primacy of mission is a statement of values, for example, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Values constitute the stuff of constitutions – the guiding principles protecting us from unintended consequences.

    Frank O’ understands all this. His company is in the phonebook. Does anyone at DHHS know how to spell “Planning”?

    Comment by Mark | February 5, 2008

  4. Stephen Meister, M.D., MHSA, FAAP co-authored the 2007 report to DHHS entitled, An Evaluation of Adverse Childhood Events, Behavioral and Developmental Problems, Placement, and Health Status in Children Entering Foster Care in Maine.

    As much as we need trauma-informed advocates, physicians, and teachers within our pediatric health community, Steve’s commitment has taken him a giant leap beyond. He is now a candidate for the congressional seat in the First District.

    Because Maine’s dilemma is so deeply rooted in federal policy, authorizations, and appropriations, Steve Meister may be able to bring the battle to the most important front while also showing leadership to our State legislature.

    He’s worth a look at http://www.stevemeisterforcongress.com

    Comment by Mark | February 6, 2008

  5. Editor,

    I am requesting that the article entitled “Breaking News and Broken Promises” which I authored and which originally appeared elsewhere on Jan. 31, 2008 be removed.

    Concern has been expressed about the possibility that readers might attribute some of the fictional descriptors to real individuals.

    Thank you for your assistance,

    Mark Katz


    The description of my early afternoon is illustrative only and based upon fictitious descriptors having no relationship to any single individual or case. This composite is intended to serve as a taste of a rather typical day for any TFP with any Treatment Level child.

    The particular disorders mentioned were chosen only as representative of many among the most common. Many treatment level children have more uncommon and severe challenges.

    This letter was prepared as part of public tesimony provided members of the legislative committees hearing the proposals from DHHS regarding “streamlining.” Every effort is made to
    adhere to the provisions of HIPAA, state regulations, and to the professional ethics protecting confidentiality.

    Comment by Mark | March 7, 2008

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