Montana CASA / GAL Association is a committed advocate for adequate funding and services to support the agencies, judicial system and programs that manage child abuse and neglect cases.
Montana Legislative Session 2021 Final Report
The Montana CASA/GAL Legislative Committee completed its final report for the 67th Montana Legislature Session. The committee navigated the virtual session monitoring and taking some action on bills that directly impact the work of CASA in Montana.
Passed into Law
• HB90/503 (MTCASA opposed original draft) - Early Emergency Protective Services Hearing in CPS Removals
• HB 499 – Reasonable efforts to require a voluntary service plan to prevent a child removal from home.
• HB57 - Revise requirements related to CPS placements in congregate care (more specifically requires new court oversight of DN children who are placed in therapeutic facilities.
• SB 18 - Allow certain high school students who meet the state minimum graduation credit requirement to receive a diploma from a district that has a higher credit requirement.
• HB60 -Minor edits to an existing statute (like changing Family Group Decision Making Meeting to Family Engagement Meeting and changing Voluntary Protective Services Agreement to Written Prevention Plan, as requested by CPS).
• HB 364 – Require CPS to share limited child abuse reporting information with certain reporters upon request a. Signed by Governor b. CPS shall share limited information as follow up to a CASA Advocate’s abuse/neglect reporting c. CASA Advocate must request the information d. Information can also be shared with CASA Director.
Not Passed in Law
• SB332 (Opposed by MTCASA) - Prohibiting CPS from implementing or enforcing immunization requirements not expressly authorized by the Legislature.
• SB16 – Allowing minors to consent to no-cost emergency shelter (specifically addresses foster youth and notifying CPS).
• SB278, Section 4 (Vetoed by Governor) - Taxing Nonprofit Corporation Legal Fees and Costs To Challenge Government Action. Nonprofit money used to pay staff or a contracted service to challenge or support govt action constitutes unrelated business income for which the nonprofit organization will pay tax, and organization has to file a donor list with the Attorney General.
MTCASA will continue to provide statewide representation, local program engagement and legislator CASA education via the work of the MTCASA Legislative Committee. The committee is comprised of members of the MTCASA Board of Directors, members of the public appointed by the MTCASA Board of Directors and the MTCASA Executive Director. Decisions made regarding actions or inactions on specific bills are guided by the MTCASA Legislative Criteria adhering to the CASA/GAL Core Model mandated by National CASA/GAL and Standards for State Organizations. MTCASA legislative practices and protocols adhere to the rules of state and federal governments in accordance with IRS regulations.