AUGUSTA – Maine is launching a pilot program to help keep together families dealing with substance abuse.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says more than 60 percent of children who come into protective custody do so because of parental substance as a risk factor.

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said the drug epidemic is destroying Maine families by creating a “vicious cycle” of addiction over generations.

The new Maine Enhanced Parenting Project combines two existing programs: a 16-week substance abuse program with a parenting education program for families experiencing behavioral or emotional difficulties.

Families with one or more parents needing outpatient treatment and one child under 5 years old are eligible. The pilot aims to serve 250 Maine parents annually, with services currently available in Scarborough, Kennebunk, Bangor, Ellsworth, Houlton and Machias.

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