MTPR

foster care

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plaguing Montana’s foster care system, struggling to keep up with rising caseloads and  high turnover in staff, is an outdated case management system.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

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.

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