MTPR

Protect Montana Kids

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / MTPR

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers heard several bills seeking to make changes to the state's child protection system, including reducing turnover of caseworkers, setting higher standards for removing children from their homes and increasing accountability.

Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

A bill that would require the state to study cases of child abuse made progress in the Montana House, today. House Democratic leaders are calling it one of the most important bills of the session.

House Bill 303 would establish a commission to look at trends of child abuse in the state and recommend policies aiming to prevent abuse and death among children.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

As Montana lawmakers look to find ways to trim state spending amid a budget shortfall, officials who oversee the state’s foster care system say they need more money to keep up with their rising workload.

Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services expects the number of kids in foster care to continue growing in coming years, to the point where they’re asking lawmakers to add more than $16 million to their $76 million budget.

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

Lawmakers in Helena Wednesday considered a proposal to study how increased reports of meth use in Montana are impacting the state’s social services.

Representative Ellie Hill Smith, a Missoula Democrat, says the state needs to find a solution for, what she describes as, a meth problem that’s draining state resources:

Bill Would Give Child Abuse Workers More Time

Jan 23, 2017
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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