Legislative Update: Friday, Jan. 20

Bill

Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Services

Senate Bill 117 sponsor Roger Webb listens to testimony from Robin Turner against his bill on Friday.

Guardianship bill gets a hearing

By Freddy Monares

Republican Sen. Roger Webb is sponsoring a bill that would pave the way for an organization like the Chicago-based Safe Families for Children to set up a network in Montana 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, spoke in opposition to the bill.

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

Robin Turner of the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence also opposed the bill for similar reasons, saying 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.

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