DHHS Commissioner: Schofield case changed the department
PORTLAND (WGME) – Sally Ann Schofield was a caseworker and foster parent, for Maine's Department of Health and Human Services, when she caused the death of a child in her custody.
Now, she is free woman, released from prison this week.
Sally Ann Schofield was released from prison on Tuesday, after serving 17 years for the manslaughter death of 5-year-old Logan Marr. It's a case that led to sweeping changes in the way the Department of Health and Human Services handles child custody cases.
Sally Ann Schofield was an adoption caseworker for the Department of Health and Human Services when she agreed to become a foster parent for Logan Marr. Four months later, her frustration led her to tie Logan to a high chair with 47 feet of duct tape, including taping her mouth, causing her to suffocate.
Mary Mayhew says when she took the job as Health and Human Services Commissioner; the little girl's death was very much on her mind.
"When I first took this position, the area of child welfare is what absolutely kept me up at night worrying about our role to protect children from abuse and from neglect," Mayhew said.
One of the biggest changes to come from Logan’s death was a new priority to place children with other family members, rather than with foster parents.
"Maine has done an incredible job on that front, where today 32 percent of the children that come into our custody are, in fact, placed with relatives," Mayhew said.
Another improvement, according to Mayhew, was more support and education for vulnerable, at risk families. She says the goal is to either unify children with their parents or get them into a safe home as quickly as possible.
"One child abused and neglected is one too many,” Mayhew said. “We are going to be forever vigilant in our efforts to protect children."