MTPR

foster care

According to Montana’s child protective services division, there are about 3,800 children in the state’s foster care system. State officials say a new federal program could reduce that number by, in part, treating behavioral health issues within families.

Kassidy Geehan speaks at the Reach Higher Summit in Helena, June 2019. Geehan was able to enroll in college after getting scholarship help from last year's summit.
Jon Ebelt, Montana DPHHS

Life isn’t easy for kids in foster care. They’re often separated from their parents for reasons they don’t understand, and can bounce around a lot through different foster homes and schools. That can make it tough for them to go to college. The state health department has an annual event to help foster kids succeed as adults. Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney met one young woman the event really worked for.

Montana Senate Endorses Moving Oversight Of Youth Programs

Mar 12, 2019
Montana State Capitol.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Senate has endorsed a bill to give the state health department oversight of private residential programs for troubled children.

Tuesday's 34-15 vote comes after a series by the Missoulian that found multiple problems with programs for children dealing with emotional and behavioral problems.

Montana's 2019 biennium budget by function.
Legislative Fiscal Division

Health care programs devastated following the state’s budget collapse over the last two years are getting pieced back together.

State lawmakers Wednesday gave initial approval for a new plan for public health spending in Montana, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the state’s total budget.

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.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

State lawmakers are considering a million dollar loan repayment program to try to retain foster child caseworkers. Turnover is about 30 percent a year in these high-stress positions in Montana’s overburdened foster care system.

Montana Child and Family Services sign in Helena, MT.
Bree Zender

State health officials say Montana needs to continue a boost in funding to deal with the heavy caseload in the foster child system.

The increasing number of children entering Montana’s foster care system is stabilizing after a spike in recent years, according to the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The head of the Montana Supreme Court says drug and alcohol abuse continues to weigh down the state’s justice system.

Chief Justice Mike McGrath this week delivered the State of Judiciary address to lawmakers of the 66th legislative session.

The rising number of children entering Montana’s foster care system appears to be slowing after years of sharp increases that burdened the state justice system and the caseload of health department workers.

According to the Department of Public Health and Human Services, the increase in the number of kids in foster care is stabilizing after doubling over the last decade.

Caseworkers in Montana’s foster care system are now receiving additional training and consultation on their work with extreme childhood trauma.

Sheila Hogan, director of  Department of Public Health and Human Services, says the new education program, which kicked off in February, will allow the state’s child welfare workers to seek advice from health care professionals on some of their most challenging cases.

Pages