SB 117 allows private network of ‘host families’ for Montana children

Sen. Roger Webb, left, wants to create a volunteer network of host families for Montana children. (Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service)

By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service

Republican Sen. Roger Webb is sponsoring a bill that would allow an organization like the Chicago-based Safe Families for Children to establish a Montana network of volunteer host families where distressed parents could place their children.

“Safe Families is a loving, non-judgmental safety net parents can rely on for help, advice, support, without the fear of losing custody of their children,” Webb said.

Senate Bill 117 would make it possible for Montana parents to give up guardianship temporarily.

Shannon McDonald, deputy chief counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services, opposes the bill.

“The bill itself contains no protections for children,” McDonald said.

Robin Turner of the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence also opposes the bill for similar reasons and said there is already a mechanism in state law that would allow parents to transfer temporary guardianship.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.