Fourteen Montana children, whose cases had been reported to the state’s child protective services, died last year. Drug or alcohol use was identified in 9 of the 14 cases reviewed by the Montana Department of Justice.
State Attorney General Tim Fox says the state must learn how to better protect its most vulnerable children.
“And in particular, I think, it’s important to note that many of the issues that arise from this review revolved around substance abuse in the home," Fox says.
The DoJ’s Child and Family ombudsman’s report released today notes that 3 accidental deaths involved an infant sleeping in the same bed with their mother, who was using drugs.
Two other deaths were due to medical complications where parental drug use could have been a factor.
The report says the state could prevent more deaths by offering more drug and alcohol treatment services for pregnant women and alcohol addicts.
The justice department launched an initiative last year called ‘AID Montana’ to create a comprehensive approach to drug and alcohol abuse.
The state health department, meanwhile, is expanding a home visitation program to assist expectant mothers and families in the child protection system.