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As Montana Budget Cuts Hit Mental Health Services, Groups Seek Private Donations

Safe Kids Fair
Photo courtesy of Safe Kids Missoula Coalition

By now, the budget cuts that triggered from under performing state revenues are hitting Montana services, but where the impact will actually be felt is a bit hard to tell. The Governor’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services have decided to direct the cuts at provider pay, something that will hit non-profits like Youth Dynamics, which helps sexually abused children, offers counseling services and helps find foster homes.

“The cut of 41 percent for case management services as well as 3.5 percent across the board for other children’s mental health services: this will definitely impact the revenue that we have coming in, however we don’t have any plans to lay off any of our staff or reduce any services,” said Youth Dynamic Employee Katie Gerten. “We just can’t turn our backs on vulnerable children in need.”

Gerten describes how the changes directly affect the pocketbook of service providers.

“I know that it in case management it represent about eight dollars less of reimbursement for every fifteen minutes for all mental health agencies,” Gerten said. “We have 31 locations across the state and most of our locations have two to five case managers on it that work full time, so the amount of money at stake is… well, it’s substantial.”

As Gerten mentioned earlier, Youth Dynamics plans on making no cuts to either services or to staff. Gerten is hoping that fellow Montanans will see the increasing need for children-focused services and will donate funds to help.

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