1995 vol. II 1023 (1995)

handle is hein.ssl/ssmt0017 and id is 1 raw text is: MONTANA SESSION LAWS 1995

CHAPTER NO. 326
[SB 244]
AN ACT REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES TO
DEVELOP A STATE POLICY AND PLAN FOR PERMANENT PLACEMENT
FOR CHILDREN IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM; DIRECTING THE
DEPARTMENT TO CONDUCT AN INTERIM REVIEW OF ADOPTION LAWS
TO FACILITATE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PERMANENT PLACEMENT
POLICY AND PLAN AND TO IMPROVE THE ADOPTION PROCESS; AND
REQUIRING A REPORT TO THE 1997 LEGISLATURE.
WHEREAS, the best interests and future well-being of Montana's children
and families continue to be paramount considerations in maintaining the health
and prosperity of this state; and
WHEREAS, according to data supplied by the Department of Family
Services' foster care payment system, over 500 identified children have been in
continuous out-of-home placement for 2 years or longer; and
WHEREAS, it is in the interests of the Legislature and the people of the
state of Montana that all children in custody of the Department of Family
Services have a lifelong family connection, either by a safe and productive return
to their birth family or, if that is not possible, by finding those children a
permanent home; and
WHEREAS, the Joint Oversight Committee on Children and Families has
recommended development of a state policy and plan for permanent placement
for children in the state's child welfare system; and
WHEREAS, Montana's Uniform Adoption Act, as enacted in 1957 and
revised periodically, may again be in need of amendment or further revision to
address the problem of permanent placement of Montana's children.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Development of state permanent placement policy and
plan. The department shall develop a state permanent placement policy and
plan for children in the state's child welfare system. The state plan must include,
at a minimum:
(1) a plan that includes locating a permanent home for any child that has
been in foster care for more than 1 year;
(2) the number of children impacted by the plan;
(3) identification of priorities in placement alternatives;
(4) identification of various strategies for improvement of the child welfare
system and of an action plan to implement these strategies;
(5) interim findings and identification of barriers to permanent placement
of children and recommendations to reduce or eliminate those barriers; and
(6) steps taken by the department to sustain systemic change in placement
of children in out-of-home care.

1023

Ch. 326

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