FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2017
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936 or (406) 461-3757
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
Individuals to be honored for efforts to support Montana children and families
Event to pay tribute to the late Jana Elliott of Wolf Point
Governor Steve Bullock will honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the past year strengthening Montana’s child protection system at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 25 at the annual Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Conference in Helena.
The awards presentation will take place at the Radisson Colonial Inn located at 2301 Colonial Drive.
“Today, we honor many unsung heroes such as judges, foster parents, child protection specialists, and court appointed special advocates for making significant contributions to support children and families,” Bullock said. “It’s an honor to recognize the positive impact these individuals are making in our state.”
Bullock will join representatives from the Montana Children’s Trust Fund, CASA of Montana and the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Child and Family Services Division to present awards to those from Wolf Point, Kalispell, Havre, Missoula, Libby, Hamilton, Livingston, Hays, Anaconda, Miles City and Helena.
Among the 2017 award recipients are the Foster Parents of the Year, Ken and the late Jana Elliott.
Last summer, the Wolf Point community suffered a huge loss when Jana tragically lost her life in a car accident in Colorado. While living in Wolf Point, Jana, age 56 at the time, served the community myriad ways as both a licensed foster parent and a 6th grade teacher at Northside School.
CFSD regional administrator Eric Barnosky said Jana made a lasting impact to all who had the privilege of meeting her. “Jana was not the kind of person to see problems and hope they would get better - she took action,” Barnosky said. “Her love for children was evident not only in the classroom and the schools, but also in the community. She made that extra effort to help children and families that were struggling.”
The annual Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Conference brings together hundreds of foster/adoptive parents, CFSD staff, tribal social services staff, county attorneys, judges, counselors, attorney’s and teachers for three days of training and breakout sessions. Over 500 people are registered this year.
The following awards will also be presented:
Montana Children’s Trust Fund Awards
The Montana Children’s Trust Fund, administratively attached to DPHHS, provides financial support to local programs across the state to prevent child abuse and neglect and strengthen families. The Trust Fund board honors individuals who have gone above and beyond to help children and families. The Children’s Trust Fund will announce the following awards:
· Strengthening Families Award, Kathy Dillman, Roundup
· Pinwheels for Prevention Award, Percelia Buffalo BullTail, Hardin.
· Montana Service to Children Award, Ann Gilkey, Helena.
· Outstanding Corporate Citizenship - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Awards
Every year, CASA of Montana recognizes outstanding people who have consistently demonstrated a special level of dedication to the CASA programs and the care and protection of abused and neglected children.
· CASA Volunteer of the Year, Patti Boggess, Anaconda
· CASA Champion, Polly Cavill, Plains
CFSD will present the following awards:
· Foster Parents of the Year – Honorable Mention: Guy and Carissa Emmet, Kalispell; Don and Meridith Todd, Columbia Falls; Cliff and Chamene Plum, Havre; Andy and Danielle Erdahl, Helena; Brady and Elaine Anderson-Wood, Missoula; Wes and Linda Huffman, Libby; and Elizabeth Miller, Helena.
· The Engaging Families in Positive Change award goes to an individual or individuals who works with families to carry out the mission of CFSD in a manner that is positive and respectful of each family’s strengths. Angela Timmes, Hamilton, CFSD.
· The Youth Achievement of the Year goes to a foster or adoptive youth(s) who exhibits a drive to be successful and makes positive changes in their life. Jymie Walker, Livingston; Maxine Plainfeather, Hays; Syndrea Hameline, Anaconda; Tayvin Peterson, Missoula; and RJ Meiwald, Lodge Grass.
· The Creative Solutions Award goes to an individual or team that utilizes creative problem-solving and resource allocation to better serve children and families. Victoria Varma, Helena.
· The Resiliency Award goes to an individual or team that displays traits that foster a supportive and positive work environment and that embody a healthy work/life balance. Jennifer Winkley, Miles City.