Gov. Paul LePage joined Maine child abuse prevention advocates and law enforcement Tuesday at the State House Hall of Flags in Augusta to highlight recent efforts to combat abuse.

Joining LePage in speaking at the event were representatives from the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Maine Children’s Trust, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Councils. They sought to bring attention to Child Abuse Prevention Day, which comes following the recent deaths of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy of Stockton Springs and 4-year-old Kendall Chick of Wiscasset. The parents or caregivers of both children have been charged with depraved indifference murder in connection with their deaths and has prompted statewide discussion about Maine’s system of protecting children.

Officials said state, county and local police also are participating in a variety of community partnership events throughout April, which is designated nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Maine law enforcement see first-hand what happens when child abuse and neglect are not prevented,” Kate Perkins, executive director of the Maine Children’s Trust, said in a news release, “and the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Councils in partnership with the Maine Children’s Trust work diligently to insure Maine children are safely nurtured.”

In 2017, more than 2,100 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported in Maine, involving more than 3,200 children. Prevention efforts such as parent education, home visitation and early childhood education programs give families the knowledge to provide a safe and stable household for children, officials said.

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