Services to Native American Children and Families

The Child and Family Services Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is committed to serving Native American children and working collaboratively with Montana’s tribes. This commitment includes the implementation of all aspects of the Indian Child Welfare Act as it applies to Native American children that come to the attention of the state court system as a result of allegations of abuse or neglect by their caretakers. This responsibility is defined in both policy and practice and carried out by Division staff in local offices and supported by Central Office staff in Helena, who provide technical assistance and policy interpretation to field staff. One of the staff members at Central Office, the ICWA Program Specialist is directly responsible for assisting field staff in their compliance with the provisions of ICWA. The ICWA Program Specialist also serves as a direct link between state programs and tribal programs.

In addition to the support of Division staff, Central Office Program staff provide, upon request, direct technical assistance to tribal staff regarding state policies and procedures that impact tribal programs. Technical assistance and consultation is provided by Program staff in the areas of foster care, guardianship, adoption, Title IV-E eligibility, Tribal contracts, the Montana Foster Care Independence Program, Child Protection Services and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

One measure of effective collaboration between the state and the tribes is the ease to which ongoing communication is established and maintained. One of the purposes of this web page is to provide ready access to information that will help to reinforce and strengthen communication, knowledge and understanding of state and tribal staff and their respective program areas.