The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee will set its priorities for the legislative interim when it meets June 16 in Helena.
Committee members will decide how much time to allocate to their five assigned studies, a required review of district court pilot projects involving abuse and neglect cases, and their monitoring duties for the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
The Legislature passed 28 proposals for studies to be conducted by interim committees between the end of the 2021 legislative session and the start of the 2023 session. The Legislature’s administrative committee assigned the following studies to the Children and Families Committee earlier this spring:
- the Senate Joint Resolution 14 study of the publicly funded mental health system for adults;
- the House Joint Resolution 35 study of the children’s mental health system;
- the House Joint Resolution 39 study of the involuntary commitment of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias;
- the House Joint Resolution 44 study of the foster care system; and
- the House Joint Resolution 45 study of the factors that trigger the removal of children and the reunification of families in cases of suspected child abuse and neglect.
Lawmakers also passed House Bill 39, which requires the committee to review the results of the early show cause hearings and the prehearing conferences that some district courts are using in child abuse and neglect cases. If the results appear promising, the committee must appoint a working group to make recommendations on how the efforts could be expanded throughout the state.
The committee will review and take public comment on a draft work plan before deciding how much time to spend on each of its studies and oversight duties. Members also will elect officers at the meeting.
The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 137 of the Capitol.
Members of the public may attend and offer comment in person or may offer public comment remotely via Zoom. They also may submit written public comment in advance of the meeting. The links for submitting written public comment and for signing up to testify remotely are available on the committee’s website at www.leg.mt.gov/cfhhs, along with other meeting-related materials.
Senate members of the committee are Chris Friedel, R-Billings; Jen Gross, D-Billings; Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton; and Mary McNally, D-Billings. House members are Mary Caferro, D-Helena; Jennifer Carlson, R-Manhattan; Jane Gillette, R-Bozeman; Dennis Lenz, R-Billings; Ed Stafman, D-Bozeman; and Danny Tenenbaum, D-Missoula.
The Rights of the families and children are on the table. Stay tuned!
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