A Step Ahead

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Center Aide

Penquis, a social services agency serving Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox counties for over 50 years, has the following Preschool Center Aide opening in the Bangor area:

35 hours per week; 42 weeks per year (benefit eligible)

This position will be available in August of 2020. This position assists with greeting children, getting them settled into the facility, assisting with classroom and playground supervision, and other daily activities related to the operation of the classroom, including light cleaning duties.

Requires a high school diploma or equivalent, basic reading, writing and math skills, and the ability to lift and carry up to 50 pounds   An Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or CDA in Preschool and paid experience working with children are preferred.  The starting rate of pay for the Center Aide position is $12.12 per hour and additional compensation will be given consideration with relevant experience.

Upon hire and periodically thereafter, must have background check results that are satisfactory to Penquis and indicate no previous or current record of involvement with child abuse, neglect or exploitation and no disqualifying criminal record or motor vehicle record as outlined in current contract provisions.

Penquis offers an excellent benefits package and competitive wages. Apply on line at or contact us at 973-3500 (TDD: 973:3520) or by email at  to request an application and job description   Applications will be accepted until May 8, 2020.

In accordance with federal regulations, Penquis does not discriminate.  Reasonable accommodation will be made for otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. Penquis is a smoke-free workplace.

Apply Today

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Family Time Coach

Penquis continues to grow and evolve in 2020.  Last year, we launched an innovative program with a new approach to serving children and families who are in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The program, Family Time Coaching, focuses on the strengths of families and the unique developmental needs of children, with a goal of supporting successful reunification. We are looking to expand our program, and we are hiring more coaches to join our team!

This team will work closely with DHHS to meet the needs of families. Employees will utilize on-the-job specialized training to ensure that families and children experience positive outcomes. In addition, there is on-site clinical supervision and opportunities for continued professional development.

Penquis offers a competitive salary, with a starting rate at $17.55 per hour, an excellent benefits package including opportunities for annual merit increases, excellent training, support and a flexible work schedule!  If hired, you could be eligible for a retention incentive after successful completion of 6 months and 12 months of employment.

Within the supportive and nurturing environment that only Penquis can offer, our team provides intensive, home- and community-based therapeutic skill building to parents, with a focus on empowerment, empathy, responsiveness and active parenting while maintaining child safety. 

We place the safety and welfare of the child above all, so the successful candidate will provide home and community-based visit coaching to assist families in gaining needed skills and tools tailored to their children’s individual needs, and supervision of all parent-child interactions. The Family Time Coach will be trained in a national coaching model and receive supervision from a licensed clinician. The successful candidate will work effectively as part of a team, interacting and sustaining positive collaborations and partnerships with families, DHHS, and resource parents. This position requires some evening and weekend hours, depending on a families’ needs, travel and the transportation of children.

The Family Time Coach must hold a Bachelor’s degree in human services or a related field, have previous documented experience working with children and families, have reliable, insured transportation and have proof of automobile insurance. To perform these duties, you must have strong interpersonal, organizational, and computer skills. Previous experience or knowledge of the DHHS system is preferred and experience with child development is a plus!

To ease the burdens of social distancing during this stressful time, we can offer interviews in various formats, including Skype and Zoom. Come join this excellent agency and be part of a growing team at Penquis!

Upon hire and periodically thereafter, must have background check results that are satisfactory to Penquis and indicate no previous or current record of involvement with child abuse, neglect or exploitation and no disqualifying criminal record or motor vehicle record as outlined in current contract provisions.

An application form and job description are available on our website or in our office at Penquis, 262 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine 04402; Tel: 973-3500; TDD: 973-3520, or from the Penquis offices in Dover-Foxcroft, Rockland, Lincoln.  

In accordance with federal regulations, Penquis does not discriminate.  Reasonable accommodation will be made for otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. Penquis is a tobacco and smoke-free workplace.

Apply Today

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Ending Stigma… What We Say Matters

Two years ago I was assigned to a subcommittee tasked with raising awareness of stigma around substance use disorder in our community. I was nervous because it was outside of my field. I have a background in marketing and public relations, not in substance use. I was at the table with people who were primarily from the medical field or treatment and recovery. I didn’t feel comfortable contributing to the conversation for fear I would unintentionally  say something wrong. I knew things had progressed with the science of addiction medicine, as had the terms, but I didn’t know exactly what was correct or incorrect.

Before these meetings I hadn’t taken the opportunity to examine certain language or statements, for example, “babies born addicted.” I had never really questioned

this phrase before, but given the opportunity to evaluate its meaning, I realized how inaccurate it was. Of course babies aren’t born addicted, and such terms create stigma. Babies can’t develop addiction. Addiction is a disorder characterized by pathologically pursuing reward or relief through the use of substances. The American Society of Addiction Medicine describes it as “inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.” None of these things are possible in a baby. When people talk about babies who are “born addicted” they are actually referring to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), or the symptoms presented by infants who were exposed to drugs in the womb.

The lessons became more personal. I had received the disappointing news that a good friend of mine, who had abstained from drug and alcohol use for over 11 years, was actively using again. I came home discouraged and said to my sister, “I don’t understand, he had been ‘clean’ for 11 years.” My sister, who works in public health and has experience with substance use prevention programs, in her kind and nonjudgmental way, said, “so, he’s DIRTY now?” Well, when she put it that way, I understood what a terrible term that was and how it was loaded with stigma. The language we use really does matter.

For many of us outside the medical field or treatment and recovery world, we may not have had the opportunity to pause from our busy lives to learn destigmatizing words and phrases. We may want to join the conversation because we have loved ones, friends and neighbors we care about battling substance use disorder. We might want to be a part of the solution, but are unsure of the correct terms; even in the treatment and recovery world there are differences of opinions over the language to use.

It can be intimidating to join the conversation, but it is important that we do, and that people help us learn along the way, because stigma erodes confidence that substance abuse disorder is a valid and treatable health condition. It can lead people to avoid socializing, employing, or working with persons who have substance-related problems or histories. It can make us accept certain types of addiction more than others. It can even lead us to believe a person is sometimes beyond help. We can consciously and even subconsciously have assumptions that those struggling with substance use disorders are immoral, weak or even sinful. This is what stigma looks and sounds like.

Together, we can reduce stigma by using language that more accurately describes the chronic brain disease of addiction. Let’s stop stigma against those who are impacted by this complex condition, a brain disease, substance use disorder! To end stigma for any subject, it helps to be kind to one another, assume right intentions, and gently educate people along the way if other so know the correct language.

Here is a chart of “preferred terminology” in reducing the stigma associated with addiction that I found helpful.

Words to avoid                                                             Words to use

Addict                                                                          Person with substance use disorder

Alcoholic                                                                     Person with alcohol use disorder

Drug problem, drug habit                                       Substance use disorder

Drug abuse                                                                 Drug misuse, harmful use

Drug abuser                                                               Person with substance use disorder

Clean                                                                           Abstinent, not actively using

Dirty                                                                            Actively using

A clean drug screen                                                   Negative for substance use

A dirty drug screen                                                     Testing positive for substance use

Former/reformed addict/alcoholic                            Person in recovery, person in long-term recovery

Opioid replacement, methadone maintenance         Medication assisted treatment

Drug-addicted babies                                                 Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome


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Over 55 and Finding Purpose

I have been told that the first few years of retirement are glorious…no commitments, no schedule, no alarm clock! I have also been told that sooner or later the desire to make a difference, to be involved in your community and to be needed returns. But, you can only go out to lunch, shopping or visiting so often! This is what one retired social worker discovered. Soon the days became long and she found herself looking for meaning and purpose to her days again.  That is when she learned about the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP).

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