Montana State Legislature

HB 39: Prehearing Conference Review

hb 39: CPS Judicial Pilot Projects
study materials (by meeting)

House Bill 39 required the committee to review the results of pilot projects involving prehearing conferences and early show-cause hearings in child abuse and neglect cases. The committee decided at its Sept. 22, 2021, meeting to create a working group of stakeholders -- as allowed under HB 39 -- to bring recommendations to the full committee on whether to implement those efforts statewide. The working group met in October, November, January, and March to discuss whether statutory or other changes would be needed to put the practices into effect more widely.

The working group agreed on findings to present to the Children and Families Committee in March and recommended at the same time that a bill be drafted to put into effect several of the group's recommendations. The full committee reviewed the bill draft in May and requested changes to reduce the timeframe for an emergency protective services hearing from 5 working days to 72 hours.

At the June 2022 meeting, the committee reviewed a revised draft that maintained the current 5-day timeframe for an EPS hearing and provided the option of clarifying whether the 1-day timeline for notifying the Office of Public Defender of a child's removal should be 1 business day or 24 hours. Staff also how explained that if HJR 45-1 passes in the 2023 session, it would implement the 72-hour timeline for an EPS hearing.

The committee agreed to clarify that the notification to OPD must occur within 24 hours and approved the bill draft as a committee bill for the 2023 session, with that change.

A final report for the 2021-2022 interim summarizes the work on this study, as well as studies of the foster care system and of the factors that trigger a child's removal from the home and the family's reunification after removal occurs.

Full Committee: June 27, 2022

Full Committee: May 12, 2022

Full Committee: March 15, 2022, Meeting Materials

HB 39 Working Group: March 2, 2022, Meeting Materials

HB 39 Working Group: January 27, 2022, Meeting Materials

HB 39 Working Group: November 19, 2021, Meeting Materials

HB 39 Working Group: October 12 Meeting Materials

Full Committee: September 22, 2021, Meeting Materials

June 16, 2021

decorative leaves element