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Bullock Clarifies New Child Protection Hires

On Monday Governor Steve Bullock announced Montana will be hiring 33 new social workers for the Department of Child and Family Services. He says the new positions represent a 160 percent increase in the number of staff providing frontline services to children and families.

In Missoula on Monday, Bullock’s Assistant Chief of Staff Ali Bovingdon said the new job openings have already been posted.

"I know that the department wants to move as quickly as they can, 33 positions is quite a number to hire, so I think it’ll be a rolling hire as they get qualified applicants."

But the 33 positions won’t be new caseworkers themselves. Seven will work in licensing, and the other 26 will be assistants to existing caseworkers. The governor’s office made that clarification today.

The 26 new “social service technicians” will cost the state about $1 million a year to employ.

Right now there are 12 openings for existing caseworker jobs, positions that typically experience high turnover. Bullock said his intention in creating the new jobs is to provide relief for overloaded caseworkers.

The governor’s “Protect Montana Kids Initiative” also allocated $1.5 million to update Department of Child and Family Services’ case management software.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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