MTPR

foster care

Caseworkers in Montana’s foster care system are now receiving additional training and consultation on their work with extreme childhood trauma.

Sheila Hogan, director of  Department of Public Health and Human Services, says the new education program, which kicked off in February, will allow the state’s child welfare workers to seek advice from health care professionals on some of their most challenging cases.

Sarah Corbally is an attorney in Helena and previously served as head of Montana’s child and family services division. She’s also on the board of Florence Crittenton.
Corin Cates-Carney

One of the three homes in Montana run by nonprofit organizations that help young moms and their kids stay out of the state’s foster care system closed last week. It was in Billings.

Budget cuts imposed by the state Legislature last year mean the state health department is eliminating more than $1.5 million in funding* for these kinds of organizations, sometimes referred to as "second chance homes."

Shards of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal meth.
Radspunk (GFDL)

Montana’s health department is now sharing with prosecutors results of drug toxicology tests conducted on children suspected to have been exposed to drugs. The Department previously didn’t comply with this state law because they said doing so would jeopardize federal funding.

Health Department Director Sheila Hogan gave regional Child and Family Services supervisors Tuesday the go-ahead to share those toxicology reports with county attorneys.

The Montana health department is behind schedule in modernizing the state's foster care system. Officials previously said that work would be complete in October. But that didn’t happen. Now, there’s no updated timeline for when the state may upgrade its system for organizing the casework of Montana’s foster kids.

Among the issues plaguing Montana’s foster care system, struggling to keep up with rising caseloads and  high turnover in staff, is an outdated case management system.

The big state budget bill landed on Governor Steve Bullock’s desk Monday, one of the final acts of the 2017 legislative session, which was gaveled to a close Friday.

MTPR’s Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney joins us for a look at what Montana lawmakers did and didn’t accomplish since convening in January.

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