Trust me, I work for the Government

Aw Shucks or Shock and Awe?

Reprinted with permission from Mark Katz


Remember Rodney Dangerfield? No respect! Reminds me of the tax-paying, voting, hard-working Mainers who open their hearts and homes to “State Kids.” Did anyone notice when DHHS-OCFS Licensing recently reduced the annual training requirements for Treatment Foster Parents?

To continue reading this article please go to UnionMaine.Org

January 30th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Adoptive care, Foster Children, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Mark Katz, UNIONMAINE, cuts for kids, foster care | no comments

The Unplanned Impact of the Supplemental Budget on Treatment Foster Families and Children

Hallowell Maine

The licensing division of the Office of Children and Family Services at DHHS as well as provider agencies contracting with licensed homes for treatment level care have long recognized that many children in state custody need a full-time parent at home. In the rules, both the department and agencies have explicitly acknowledged that reimbursement dollars may be used in determining the financial fitness of foster families. This has allowed many families, perhaps the vast majority, to open their homes to children and youth placed at treatment levels of care and to provide at least one full-time parent. EDITOR: Now Foster care is under attack by the DHHS.

To read more go here.

Remember to sign up at UnionMaine.Org as this site will be phased out in a few months.

January 29th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Adoptive care, Foster Children, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, UNIONMAINE, cuts for kids, foster care, msea maine | no comments

Hollywood Needs Writers, the Theater Needs Agents What Does Foster Care Need?


Mark Katz is a nationally recognized systems analyst with special interests in health-care and pediatric mental health delivery. Before settling in the China area in the early seventies he was a National Science Foundation Fellow and doctoral student at M.I.T. with concentrations in neurophysiology and psychology.

He is currently the CEO, cook, and dish-washer of a licensed Treatment Foster Home and is certified in Behavioral Health.

Free associate for a few moments. If I ask you to think, Agents, does the word Secret come to mind? Or perhaps, Special or Intelligence or Real Estate? Agent of Change, maybe? In a recent survey, not a single respondent said, Foster Family-based Treatment, yet these agencies contract with over a thousand Maine, independent contractors to perform one of the most challenging and valuable jobs within our state.

For the rest of the story as told by this remarkable advocate for Foster Children go to Http:UnionMaine.Org

January 28th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Adoptive care, FAIR SHARE, cuts for kids | one comment

Mark Katz an Advocate for Foster Kids

Mark Katz has kindly offered to let me use his writing for this Blog. When you finish reading his writing you may want to elect him to office. The trouble is I think he is too intelligent to fall for it. Hallowell — Give Me a Break!

Reneging on Respite Reimbursement

Grandma is in the hospital for hip surgery. Mom is recovering from a hysterectomy. Dad needs a weekend to repair the flooding damage and broken windows from Johnny’s melt-down on Thursday. Johnny needs a break from Mom and Dad and all their stupid rules before he has another melt-down. Rover needs recovery time from the unexpected kick in the head Johnny gave him. The neighbors are celebrating a major anniversary and would appreciate a little quiet next door.

For the complete post, go to Http://WWW.UnionMaine.Org

I am going to do something I don’t normally do. I am going to post several posts in a rapid series.
The first hearings on the “Cuts for Kids” campaign are to be held by the appropriations committee this Friday. I will be there.

If you want to read more of Mark’s writing, leave a comment.

January 28th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Adoptive care, Foster Children, Mark Katz, cuts for kids, foster care | no comments

DHHS announces the CUTS FOR KIDS campaign is off to a great start!

Not in so many words, but this letter says that the “Cuts for kids” campaign is off to a great start. They are just letting the foster parents know it is already a done deal. Ask your legislator if it is a done deal. Forward this post to your legislator and ask if they support the”Cuts for Kids” campaign. Stay tuned for the “More jobs for DHHS follow up”.

Dear Mr. Maher,

The Governor forwarded us your message so we could respond.

As you know, Maine is facing a revenue shortfall of $95 million over the next two years. Together with the state’s funding of education, DHHS makes up 80% of the entire state budget. In hard times, such as what we are in now, the Department is forced to make a lot of changes in how we pay for services so we can keep important and necessary services in place for children, families and older citizens throughout Maine.

Children who are in the state’s care and served by foster families or are provided permanency by adoptive families clearly must remain a priority. The Governor does not propose rate changes for these families lightly. He and the Department understand the love and giving that goes in to caring for Maine’s children.

One of the choices among all the many different choices to address these difficult economic times was to adjust rates. In some other services for people equally in need as foster and adoptive children we had to propose serving fewer people by making fewer people eligible. Also in other areas people will have to wait for services for longer time periods. The worse option was to cut a service where absolutely nothing else was available.

When we were faced with all these different choices, we believe the changes in rate reimbursements are a responsible position for the Department to have suggested to the Governor.

Now the legislature will debate whether the Governor’s proposals can become law. As you know, they will hear from the public about this particular budget proposal on Friday, February 1st, in the afternoon. They will take testimony, comments from letters and emails in to consideration as they make their decisions over the next 3 months.

We continue to welcome your comments as we work together to make the best decisions for our children, providers, and all Maine people who will need our help in the future.

I hope this helps you understand the context of the cuts. We know that our Office of Child and Family Services sent a letter on January 15th explaining how these reductions would be put in place. If you have not received that and wish a copy please let us know.

Thank you for your continued service to Maine’s children.


Lucky Hollander

Director, Legislative Relations

On behalf of Brenda M. Harvey


January 26th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Adoptive care, Foster Children, Mark Katz, cuts for kids, foster care | 2 comments