HELENA, Mont. - Montana's governor and attorney general have appointed 14 members to a commission that will review child deaths because of abuse and neglect with the goal of improving child protection policies and practices.
The Child Abuse and Neglect Review Commission was created under legislation passed earlier this year.
"Our kids are counting on us to work together and do everything possible to ensure their safety and provide for a brighter future, even in the most unimaginable situations," Gov. Steve Bullock said in a written statement Friday.
The Child and Family Services Ombudsman's office reviewed the deaths of 14 children between July 1, 2015, and Nov. 8, 2016, and found a list of red flags in child abuse cases. The presence of two or more should lead the state to give more credence to a report of child abuse or neglect, including drug and alcohol abuse, a prior history with the agency, domestic violence and housing or other financial instability.
The new commission will have access to law enforcement and medical reports, unlike the ombudsman's office, to get a more complete picture.
Commission members include a former victim of child abuse and neglect, a foster parent, an attorney who works in the area of child abuse and neglect cases, a retired judge, a law enforcement officer, a county prosecutor, a tribal representative, a state legislator and medical providers involved in child abuse or neglect cases.