Blog | March 18, 2019

Cumberland County Sheriff Speaks to Maine Legislative Children’s Caucus

Panel of local experts describes the impact of opioid crisis on Maine’s young children

On March 5, the Maine Legislative Children’s Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral caucus, hosted a panel discussion of the impact of the opioid crisis on Maine’s youngest children. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Maine member, Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce was on the panel to provide insight into what law enforcement officers are seeing with incarcerated parents and overdoses of parents with young children. Young children are often-overlooked victims of the opioid crisis that is ravaging our state and the nation.

We will continue to see children impacted by opiates and substance use disorder.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Maine Sheriffs’ Association President

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce presents at the Maine Children's Caucus panel on impact of opioid crisis

The panel included a diverse array of experts from across the state:

  • Nicole Chaplin, Associate Director of Kennebec Valley Community Action Program’s Early Education and Child Services Program
  • Kevin Joyce, Cumberland County Sheriff, and President of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association
  • Mark Moran, LCSW, Family Service and Support Team Coordinator and Pediatric Forensic Clinic Coordinator at Northern Light Health, and Chair, Maine Child Death and Serious Injury Review Panel
  • Nora Sosnoff, AAG, Attorney General’s Division Chief for Child Protection

7% of Maine’s newborns are substance exposed at birth, which means that they need intensive care and will spend a minimum of five nights in the hospital after birth for observation and treatment. Even if a newborn is not affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome, parental substance abuse subjects children in their care to an identified Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). If children are exposed to ACEs early in life, they face a steeper climb to grow up healthy, well-educated, and ready for productive lives.

The Cumberland County Jail is the largest detox center in the state.

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Maine Sheriffs’ Association President

Having one or both parents incarcerated due to drug possession can also negatively impact young children. High-quality early care and education programs, including home visiting, child care, Head Start, and preschool, provide a powerful approach to helping children impacted by the opioid crisis.

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