By Associated Press - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine’s Republican governor has proposed a bill aiming to better Maine’s child welfare system by increasing funding for foster homes and hiring new supervisors for caseworkers.

The Legislature’s Health and Human Services committee will discuss Gov. Paul LePage’s five bills Monday. The governor’s latest bill would offer $5 per-hour stipends for caseworkers and supervisors, along with an additional $1 hourly stipend for those with a master’s degree.

The bill would cost taxpayers almost $20 million in state general funds on top of nearly $700,000 in federal funds and $1 million in special revenue funds. That includes $8 million in state funding for a new child welfare information system.

Child caseworkers’ workloads have spiked as call volumes increase and policy changes require more assessments of some allegations.

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