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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

'Protect Montana Kids' Report May Be Delayed

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

The deadline set for the Protect Montana Kids Commission to draft recommendations to deal with the state’s struggling child abuse and neglect services may have to be pushed back.

In September, Governor Steve Bullock created the commission by executive order, and set a deadline of March 31 for it to recommended legislative fixes for Montana’s child protective system.

At a Tuesday hearing, commission members talked about continuing their work into April or May.

Ali Bovingdon, the governor’s office representative on the a commission, acknowledged the complexity of the commission work. But she said this is an issue that needs to be dealt with soon, so legislation can be drafted for next session. However, she anticipates that they are going to have to ask the governor for more time on the statutory recommendations and getting the report to him.

"But I wouldn’t want to let it slip much past the March 31 deadline," Bovingdon said.

The commission listened to child protection caseworkers, therapists and impacted families Tuesday trying to gain more understanding of the agency’s poor performance as outlined in an audit late last year.

At their next meeting in February, the commission will hear from foster kids and add a legislator to the committee.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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