Feds Warn Montana It Faces Cutoff of Abuse Program Funding

State will lose money if it doesn't release info on how many children die of abuse and neglect

By Molly Priddy

The federal government says it will strip Montana of a child abuse prevention grant if the state doesn’t start releasing information about children who die of abuse and neglect, but Montana officials say a state confidentiality law prevents them from releasing the information.

An Associated Press investigation into child abuse deaths revealed last December that Montana’s law violates the grant’s rules, which require public access to information about child abuse deaths.

Montana officials sought a change in the law earlier this year, but no bill was passed before the legislative session ended.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the state will lose the nearly $120,000 annual grant if it doesn’t submit compliance plans by Monday or explain why it legally should not be required to comply.