We’re thrilled to let you know about a major victory: yesterday, the Montana Senate passed H.B. 37 by a vote of 41 – 9. This bill provides critical protections for innocent children and families when they are falsely accused of child abuse or neglect. You can read H.B. 37 as passed by the Montana House and Senate and sent to Governor Gianforte here. We are also grateful to the Montana Child Protection Alliance for their hard work on this bill and other similar legislation to protect families.
Now we need you to contact Governor Gianforte and ask that he sign H.B. 37 into law. The Montana CPS lobby is not happy with H.B. 37, and we have heard that they are trying to get Governor Gianforte to veto it.
H.B. 37 will do the following:
- Declares that “it is the policy of the state of Montana to … ensure that there is no forced removal of a child from the family without first obtaining a warrant from a court unless the child is likely to experience sexual abuse or physical abuse in the time that would be required to obtain a warrant.”
- Mandates that “the department [of Public Health and Human Services, and the Child and Family Services Division] shall ensure that department training and policies comply with constitutional requirements.”
- Protects loving families who are facing poverty by clarifying that “substance use by a parent or guardian, disorderly living conditions, other factors closely related to economic status, or a child’s obesity do not alone constitute physical or psychological harm to a child.”
- Provides a host of additional protections for due process rights of parents and families, to limit child removals, to provide support for struggling families, and to help preserve family unity.
Please contact Governor Gianforte and give him the following message:
As a Montana resident, I urge that you sign H.B. 37 into law. This bill will protect the due process rights of innocent parents, protect children and families from unnecessary removals, and ensure that Montana child welfare agencies protect children who are truly at risk of abuse or neglect, while protecting innocent families from the trauma of unnecessary government investigations. Thank you for standing with children and families in Montana.
If you decide to send an email to Governor Gianforte, you can include a link to an Amicus Curiae (“friend of the Court”) brief we submitted in a federal lawsuit several years ago, which documents the harm that innocent families and children face when going through a child abuse or neglect investigation. H.B. 37 will provide needed protections in these types of investigations in order to protect innocent families. You can read our brief here: https://parentalrightsfoundation.org/doe-v-woodard/
Then, please forward this email to two or three friends, and ask them to also contact Governor Gianforte. Together, we CAN bring reform to the child welfare system in Montana.