Where does child protection and education data come from?
April 24—CHILD PROTECTION DATA
The Sun Journal analyzed data from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services reports on child welfare, including 18 years of child welfare annual reports, annual reports on the Office of Child and Family Services staff dating back to 2018 and child death reports from 2007 to 2021.
An analysis of Child Protective Services annual reports looked at the number of referrals received by the OCFS from 2003 to 2020 and calculated the percentage that were not assigned to assessment, assigned to assessment by an OCFS social worker and who have been assigned to a contract agency through DHHS. Alternative Response Program, which was phased out at the end of 2021.
Data on the rate of substance use as a factor in child withdrawal comes directly from the CPS 2021 report.
The Sun Journal also aggregated data on social worker staffing and vacancies from 2018 to 2021 using annual caseload and caseload reports, which DHHS is legally required to publish. since 2019.
Data on child deaths is taken directly from the DHHS website, where it lists the number of child deaths, the age and sex of the child, and the cause of death from 2007 to 2021. DHHS has began tracking this data in 2007.
The Sun Journal obtained annual financial data for Maine school districts from the 2005-06 school year through the 2020-21 school year through a Freedom of Access Act request to the Maine Department of Education.
Due to a 2007 law that required some school districts to join together to form regional school units, reducing the number of districts in Maine from 290 to about 160, the Sun Journal limited its analysis to the school year. 2009-2010.
The financial data provided by the DOE showed expenditures per student across all budget categories, rather than total costs, which could vary significantly from district to district depending on its size.
The Sun Journal focused on three categories of funding: special education, regular education, and overall spending (total funds spent per student in the district). The analysis then calculated year-over-year changes in spending across the three categories for comparison.