MTPR

foster care

Bill Would Give Foster Children More Say In Planning Their Future

Feb 13, 2017
Helena resident Lina Havron shared a story of a foster child named Charlie during testimony on the bill Monday.
Freddy Monares

Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would allow foster children over the age of 14 to be involved in the planning process about their living situation as they age out of foster care.

Rep. Kim Dudik, D - Missoula
Mike Albans

A new bill would give Montana’s Child and Family Services Division more time to informally resolve child abuse cases before they are referred to the courts.

If passed, the bill would provide additional funding  for a child abuse pilot project passed by the legislature in 2015.

Montana Capitol, Helena
Mike Albans

Today, a so-called Bill of Rights for kids in foster care and the parents that take care of them got its first hearing in the state legislature. Although guidelines outlining those rights already exist now, they’re just administrative policy and not a part of state law.

The Protect Montana Kids Commission listening to stories of child abuse, abandonment and neglect
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana’s child protection system is in dire straits. The number of kids entering foster care has skyrocketed and caseworkers are overwhelmed. Last year, 14 children died across the state despite reports of abuse being made to authorities.

A house bill set to be heard on Thursday morning aims to help.

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock blames the state’s failing child and family services system on the state legislature. Today the Republican chairman of the interim committee on child and family services shot back.
Bree Zender

Jillian Johnsrud always wanted to be a foster parent. On her first date with the man who would later become her husband, she had an out-of the-ordinary question.

The Protect Montana Kids Commission listening to stories of child abuse, abandonment and neglect
Corin Cates-Carney

Last September, Governor Steve Bullock created the Protect Montana Kids Commission to address growing concerns over the state’s child abuse and neglect caseload.

Over 2,600 Montana children are in foster care; determined by a court to be "in imminent risk."  That's up 60 percent since 2008.  What's going on? Guest Sarah Corbally, administrator of Child & Family Services at the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services shares her thoughts.

Five Helena-area families pose with their newly adopted children, and Gov. Steve Bullock.
Steve Jess

    

A chorus of third graders sang “Happy Adoption Day” for the crowd that gathered at the state capitol Monday afternoon.

Five couples from the Helena area finalized the adoptions of a total of seven children in front of judge Mike Menahan. Among them, Bill and Nicky Rook adopted six year old Ashley, their niece who’s lived with them for three years.

New data says Montana does a good job at placing placing kids in its child welfare system with relatives or foster families, which is seen as preferable to placements in group homes.

Kids with chaotic family situations, with behavior and mental health issues, as young as you can imagine, end up needing emergency housing. The need for foster families trained to help these kids is ever present.

Youth Dynamics is a non-profit organization operating across Montana. Katie Gerten works out of the Kalispell office licensing people to be foster parents. She said in the past six months she’s has about 20 children referred to her office to be placed in foster care that she had to turn down. She said it’s hard to find people up for becoming foster parents.