Special Efforts Being Made in Montana to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

February 12, 2018-
New Montana Panel Looks into Child Deaths, State lawmakers established the commission last year amid frustration that 28 children since 2015 had died since coming to the attention of Montana's Child and Family Services Division.[ Recommendation 6.2]

January 17, 2018- Child death review recommends treatment for addicted mothers. Montana could help prevent child deaths by offering more treatment services for pregnant women and new mothers who are battling drug and alcohol addiction, a Department of Justice review recommended.[ Recommendation 7.1l]

January 05, 2018

- Two lawmakers have reviewed child abuse and neglect case records from the state's Child and Family Services division since a law was enacted in October that allows them access to information but sets a slew of limitations as to what they can and can't do. [Recommendation 5.2]

August 30, 2017- Montana's governor and attorney general have appointed 14 members to a commission that will review child deaths because of abuse and neglect with the goal of improving child protection policies and practices. [Recommendation 5.2a]

In April 2017, the Montana Legislature enacted
HB 303 to create a multidisciplinary child abuse and neglect review commission in DPHHS to examine the trends and patterns of child abuse and neglect, including fatalities and near fatalities attributable to child abuse and neglect; educate the public, service providers, and policymakers about child abuse and neglect, including fatalities and near fatalities attributable to child abuse and neglect, and about strategies for intervention in and prevention of child abuse and neglect; coordinate with the child fatality review team and the domestic fatality review commission as appropriate; study the laws, practices, policies, successes, and failures of surrounding states in the  area of combating child abuse and neglect and consider whether any should be adopted in Montana; and recommend policies, practices, and services that may encourage collaboration and reduce fatalities and near fatalities attributable to child abuse and neglect.  [Recommendation 5.1]

In May 2017, the Montana Legislature enacted HB 517 to require that by August 15, 2018, DPHHS develop a strategic plan that sets out measurable goals and strategies for reducing child abuse and neglect in Montana over a 5-year period. The plan must address ways to increase family stability; enhance child development for all families; and mitigate the factors known to lead to child abuse and neglect. The plan must review factors and propose strategies specific to Montana's urban and rural areas, as well as the state's Indian communities and reservations.  [Recommendation 5.2]

CFSD is developing a new reporting tool, Pentaho, to allow the division to readily share data with its managers, staff, and other stakeholders, such as the Montana Court Improvement Program. The tool will allow CFSD to create dashboards that can be individualized to assist users in identifying, understanding, and using data to inform agency systems and/or decisions. Pentaho is also being used in other DPHHS divisions and will allow CFSD to easily integrate data from multiple data systems into one report or dashboard view. [Recommendation 6.1]