If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-866-820-5437.
How do I Submit a Request for Assistance?
You can also reach our office at 1-844-25CHILD (1-844-252-4453).
You can mail the form to: PO Box 201417, Helena, MT 59620.
Or you can fax the form to: (406) 444-2759
When should someone submit a Request for Assistance?
If you have questions or concerns about the actions of Montana Child and Family Services Division, please submit a request.
What happens when we get a Request for Assistance?
The Ombudsman first asks the requestor if they want to remain confidential if they prefer that the Child and Family Services Division does not know who initiated the review.
The Ombudsman then gathers all the necessary information about the case from Child and Family Services Record Management Systems.
Once the record is available for complete review, the Ombudsman will consider:
Step 1: Has the individual requesting assistance attempted to get help from the department?
Step 2: What does the individual hope will occur from the Ombudsman’s intervention?
Step 3: Is there evidence supporting the requesters concern?
The Ombudsman reviews Requests for Assistance in the order they arrive. It may take some time for the office to initiate your case.
If the request fits within the Ombudsman’s legal authority, then the Ombudsman will do a complete review.
In a review of a Request for Assistance, the Ombudsman completes a knowledgeable assessment of whether CFSD staff followed Statutes, Policies, Procedures and Practices and supported the rights of a child or a family.
The Ombudsman will communicate with requestors to discuss findings of the case review.
When is a Request for Assistance denied?
Montana law states that a case may be declined for the following reasons:
1.) the Request for Assistance is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith;
2.) the Request for Assistance is too delayed to justify an investigation;
3.) the person requesting assistance is not personally aggrieved by the subject matter of the request; or
4.) the Request for Assistance has been previously investigated by the ombudsman.
The Ombudsman may also decline a request if they receive no response from the requestor after the first contact or if the Ombudsman can no longer contact the requestor.
If OCFO denies a request, this does not prevent the individual from making another request in the future and if an individual has had a request reviewed by OCFO before and has new concerns, they can also request assistance again.