PORTLAND, Maine — One year ago, people in the town of Stockton Springs and across Maine were rocked by the news of a 10-year-old girl's death.
Marissa Kennedy was found beaten to death, and police say prior to her murder she had suffered months of abuse at the hands of her mother and stepfather, Sharon and Julio Carillo.
Since Marissa's death, the Department of Health and Human Services has admitted they made mistakes and has been under a microscope. It says it has taken steps within Child Protective Services to make sure a case like Marissa's doesn't happen again.
However, a report released by the Office of Program Evaulation and Government Accountability, or OPEGA, indicates that there's a lot more work to be done.
Meanwhile, as the trial of Marissa's parents edges closer, other relatives are holding onto the hope that they'll get some answers.
"It's hard dealing with the loss," Marissa's grandfather Joe Kennedy said in an interview with Samantha York in May 2018. "I will never see her again, will never get to hold her, it's just a pain I wouldn't wish on anybody."
When NEWS CENTER spoke with Kennedy in New Windsor, New York, last spring, he wanted Maine to fix what he called an inefficient Child Protective Services system.
"Whether the case workers are overworked, or whether this just fell through the cracks, I just don't know." Kennedy said.
In the past year, lawmakers and watchdog agencies like OPEGA have worked to figure that out, the biggest findings coming out last fall.
OPEGA found the department to be extremely understaffed and workloads for case workers were too heavy. On top of that, staff training was limited, foster families were few and far between and the computer system was outdated and inefficient.
These findings prompted Maine's former Gov. Paul LePage to introduce five emergency bills with the hopes of resolving those issues.
In the months since those bills were passed, a report released just last week by OPEGA shows staffing and pay have increased. However, there are things that frustrate those in the department that still haven't been fully addressed, like caseloads and placing children in safe environments.
"We're seeing the entire system is overwhelmed and over stressed and that does not create a very sustainable process to protect children of Maine," state Sen. Justin Chenette told NEWS CENTER Maine on Friday after reading the report.
As lawmakers continue working to find a solution, people like Joe Kennedy will be watching and waiting.
"If one child's life is saved it would give Roseann and myself a little bit of happiness maybe a little bit of closure," Kennedy said. "But we do miss our granddaughter."