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Gov. LePage releases statement after pulling funding from child abuse prevention program

Just days after a murder in Stockton Springs, we're learning a critical program to prevent child abuse in Maine will soon lose its funding. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Just days after a murder in Stockton Springs, we're learning a critical program to prevent child abuse in Maine will soon lose its funding.

"Community Partnerships for Protecting Children" has been expanded into high risk communities.

The funding for Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, or CPPC will run out in September.

Governor Paul LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services are pulling the plug, which advocates are calling "bad timing."

Investigators say 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy was "tortured" and killed at the hands of her mother and step father for in Stockton Springs.

CPPC has been fighting against child abuse for years.

In the Portland area, officials say child abuse cases have dropped where CPPC is active, and DHHS recently set up the program in Western, Central and Midcoast Maine, where high rates of child abuse have been reported, compared to the rest of the state.

Governor LePage released a statement about the decision:

"The Governor takes seriously the prevention of child abuse and the handling of child welfare cases, especially given his personal experience growing up in an abusive household."

DHHS says the funding cut comes after an "in-depth" review and says it duplicated the work of another child abuse program within the department, but organizers say that is just not true.

The governor says while the program is redundant in some areas, DHHS believes there is value in others, and will work with directors to keep those going.

CBS 13 had also hoped to speak with DHHS Thursday, about how child abuse cases are handled in the state and if they believe protocols were followed in the Marissa Kennedy case.

They offered to do an interview with us late Thursday afternoon, after we had left Augusta, and declined our request to do a phone interview.

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