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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

'Protect Montana Kids' Drafts Improvements To Child Protection System

Chuck Hunter is a Protect Montana Kids commissioner and Helena Representative.
Montana Legislature

The Protect Montana Kids Commission has drafted recommendations for the governor on ways to improve  the state’s child protection system.

The Protect Montana Kids Commission was created by Governor Steve Bullock last September, and according to members of the commission, Montana’s Child Protection System is in crisis.

Commission member and Helena Representative Chuck Hunter says the first recommendation is a short-term plan to stabilize the work of the Child and Family Services Division. Hunter says that plan includes increasing the reliability of communication within CFSD.

“To that end we are recommending that the division hire or contract or re-purpose a person to be a staff communication officer for the division.”

Hunter says the 12-month plan also calls for the filling of all current open positions within CFSD. He says the turnover rate within the agency is at time as high as 30 percent.

“It is simply one of the root causes of the problem. With not enough people to do the work that is there, everything gets cut short.”

The Commission’s recommendations include a long-term plan for CFSD that addresses problems in recruitment and retention, agency communication, and workplace culture.

Those recommendations to Governor Bullock will require additional resources from the Montana Legislature during the 2017 session.

The Protect Montana Kids Commission is scheduled to finalize its recommendations at the next meeting on May 17.

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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