Placement of Children With Relatives - Montana

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 41-3-101; 41-3-439

Whenever it is necessary to remove a child from the child's home, the Department of Public Health and Human Services shall, when it is in the best interests of the child, place the child with the child's noncustodial birth parent or with the child's extended family, including adult siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, and parent's siblings, when placement with the extended family is approved by the department and prior to placing the child in an alternative protective or residential facility.

If the department has legal custody of a child, the department shall give priority to a member of the child's extended family in determining the person or persons with whom the child should be placed if the following apply:

  • Placement with the extended family member is in the best interests of the child.
  • The extended family member has requested placement of the child.
  • The extended family member can offer the child continuity of care by providing permanency or stability in residence, schooling, and activities outside of the home.
  • The department has determined that the extended family member is qualified to receive and care for the child.

If more than one extended family member has requested that the child be placed with them and all are qualified to receive and care for the child, the department may determine with which extended family member to place the abandoned child in the same manner as provided for in § 41-3-438(4).

This section does not affect the department's ability to assess the appropriateness of placement of the child with a noncustodial parent when abandonment has been found against only one parent.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-3-101; Admin. Rules § 37.51.207

Prior to approving a placement, the department shall investigate whether anyone living in the home has been convicted of a crime involving serious harm to children.

In regulation: The department may, at its discretion, issue a provisional license restricted for care of a specific child or children for any period up to 4 months to any license applicant for a kinship foster home that has done the following:

  • Met all licensing requirements for fire safety
  • Completed and signed a release of information form provided by the department
  • Submitted completed fingerprint cards on all adult household members
  • A satisfactory child protective and adult protective services check for all adults present in the home
  • Agreed in writing to comply fully with all licensing requirements established by these rules prior to the expiration of the provisional license

The department may, at its discretion, renew a provisional license for no more than 2 months if the license applicant shows good cause for unintentional failure to comply fully with all licensing requirements within the time covered by the prior provisional license.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-3-212; 42-1-103

A parent or guardian may make a direct parental placement of their child for adoption with an extended family member.

The term 'extended family member' means a person who is or was the adopted child's parent, grandparent, sibling, parent's sibling, or child.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-3-212

In a direct parental placement adoption, if the court is satisfied that adoption is in the best interests of the child, the court may waive the requirement of a preplacement and postplacement evaluation when a parent or guardian places a child for adoption directly with an extended family member of the child.