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Spurwink Advocacy Update

By May 11, 2023June 26th, 2023Blog

Spurwink has had a strong presence in Augusta during the 131st Maine Legislative Session, advocating for issues that are important to our clients, staff and programs. We were well represented by our membership in the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services (a.k.a. The Alliance, an organization for which Eric Meyer serves at Board Chair), the Behavioral Health Community Collaborative (BHCC), and Maine Association of Community Services Providers (MACSP).

Spurwink staff has provided testimony on several bills that impact Spurwink.

Eric Meyer testified in support of the children’s behavioral health funding in LD 258, a budget bill. While Spurwink is appreciative that some increased rates have been enacted, more is needed. The proposed budget will allow Spurwink to stabilize services and expand access to care. Click here to read his testimony.

Eric also testified in support of LD 744, which would direct DHHS to conduct rate studies in 2024 for MaineCare HCBS Group Home and Community Supports and Community Membership services for people with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder. We believe that the establishment of a daily rate for Group Home services would minimize staff turnover, help with recruiting, and make it easier for client/home improvements that are often expensive, allowing clients to live with dignity in a safe and comfortable setting. Click here to read his testimony. Click here to read his testimony.

Kristen Farnham testified in support of LD 1718. It is an innovative bill that offers higher ed tuition vouchers to direct support workers. The vouchers also can be shared with family members – a pretty neat option to expand access to educational attainment. We also see the bill as an anti-poverty measure, since education is a key piece of economic stability and growth. Click here to read her testimony.

Kristen also testified in support of LD 1050, which would direct the Commissioner of Labor to request a federal waiver to allow asylum seekers to work while their asylum applications are pending. We believe that allowing this group to work would both create opportunity for the vulnerable populations that we serve and help to address the behavioral health workforce crisis by opening a larger potential applicant pool. Click here to read her testimony.

Ben Strick testified in support of LD 328, An Act to Improve Mental Health in Maine. The intent of this bill is to improve care for vulnerable Mainers by aligning MaineCare regulations with the Dartmouth Assertive Community Treatment Scale (DACTS), the fidelity measure of ACT treatment. Click here to read his testimony.

Jen Shumway and Joyce Wientzen testified in support of LD 1092, An Act to Prevent the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the State (click here for an overview). We advocated for additional funds to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Expanding funding for CSEC Coordinators throughout the state will allow us to deal with these cross-jurisdictional issues that cause many youth to fall out of our catchment area and will illuminate the need that undoubtedly exists in other communities throughout Maine.

Click here to read Jen’s testimony.Click here to read Joyce’s testimony.

For more information or to learn more about how to support this work, please reach out to Kristen Farnham, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Advancement, at (207) 871-1211 x2186 or