#Local Government
Department of Public Health and Human Services - Foster Care Division in the state of Montana
United States of America

Historically, the Child and Family Services Division (Division) has delegated foster parent recruitment, training activities and retention to Family Resource Specialists (FRS).

The Child and Family Services Division (Division) within the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is the agency responsible for protecting Montana children who are abandoned, neglected, or abused. To meet this mandate, the Division must place these children in out-of-home placements until children can be reunited with their family or placed in an adoptive home or other permanent placement.

Currently Family Resource Specialists (FRS) help guide foster families through foster and adoption processes, and in most cases from licensing foster homes to completing placement adoptions. Additionally, a FRS provides regular educational programs and training opportunities and works along the continuum between Child Protective Services social workers and the foster parents. FRS workers are, in most foster families, the most consistent and long term relationship with the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The Family Resource Specialist is vital to the retention of current foster parents and the recruitment of future foster parents. Any loss of current foster parents and homes will affect the Division’s ability to meet its objectives for placing children in the most appropriate placement and increasing the stability of child placements. Considering the potential impact of limited availability of foster care placements and the future increase in demand on existing foster parents, this will likely impact retention. Furthermore, the continuity of service between the Child Protective Services social worker and an outsourced entity performing the tasks of a FRS may potentially break down leading to a decrease in foster parents without the resources to recruit new licensees.

Finally, once the grant to retain the services of an outsourced entity liquidates, the foster parents will be left without a mediator, guidance, training or education that the current FRS provides.

We the undersigned, call on the Department of Health and Human Services-Foster care division to refrain from the reassigning of any family resource specialist (frs workers) in the state of Montana.

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The Stop the Re-Assignment of Family Resource Specialists (FRS Workers) in the State of Montana petition to Department of Public Health and Human Services - Foster Care Division in the state of Montana was written by Yellowstone Valley Foster and Adoption Parent Association and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.