Maine bikers raise awareness of the consequences of the deaths of dozens of children in state care

WINDHAM (WGME) — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is under scrutiny after dozens of children have died in state care in recent years, including Maddox Williams, a 3-year-old Maine boy who died after his mother beat him to death.

For the second year in a row, the Maddox Memorial Ride was hosted Saturday in Windham by the United Bikers of Maine group and the nonprofit organization Walk a Mile in Their Shoes.

The goal of this charity ride is to raise awareness of child abuse in Maine and prevent further deaths.

Maddox Williams was a three-year-old boy who was beaten to death by his mother while in state custody.

Bill Diamond runs the nonprofit organization Walk a Mile in Their Shoes, which aims to end child neglect.

“We have children dying who shouldn't die. In the last two years, 54 children have died in state care,” Diamond said.

June 20 marked the third anniversary of Maddox's death.

His grandmother, Victoria Vose, and other family members repeatedly warned DHHS about concerns about his safety.

The coroner said he died of blunt force trauma and suffered a fractured vertebra and a brain hemorrhage.

“Maddox was failed by the monster that created him, the State of Maine DHHS and the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability,” Vose said.

Diamond says Maine has the highest number of abused children of any other state in the United States.

He says the Maine Office of Child and Family Services needs to improve.

Diamond has been calling for change for years, but there has been little progress.

“We want to bring it to light, change the system, fix the broken system and the broken culture,” Diamond said.

Anna Harden

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