Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 3. Protective Care

Voluntary Prehearing Conferences -- Pilot Project Counties

41-3-307. (Temporary) Voluntary prehearing conferences -- pilot project counties. (1) The parents, parent, guardian, or other person having physical or legal custody of a child who has been removed from the home pursuant to 41-3-301 may participate in a conference within 5 days of the child's removal and before a show cause hearing held by the court if the court is participating in a pilot project testing the effectiveness of prehearing conferences.

(2) A prehearing conference may be held under this section only if it involves:

(a) the parents, parent, guardian, or other person having physical or legal custody of the child;

(b) the person's legal counsel;

(c) the county attorney's office; and

(d) a department social worker.

(3) To the greatest degree possible using available funding, the meetings must be conducted by an independent and trained facilitator.

(4) At a minimum, the meetings must involve discussion of:

(a) the child's current placement and options for continued placement if the child remains out of the home;

(b) whether other options exist for an in-home safety plan or resource that may allow the child to remain in the home;

(c) parenting time schedules; and

(d) treatment services for the family.

(5) This section does not apply to cases involving an Indian child who is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

(6) This section applies to a district court participating in the prehearing conference pilot project funded by the court improvement program on May 14, 2021, and to any district court in a rural county or multicounty district that chooses to hold conferences in accordance with this section on or after that date. (Terminates June 30, 2023--sec. 8, Ch. 529, L. 2021.)

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 529, L. 2021.