The Shocking Reality of Foster Care in Montana

There is a problem in Montana and Havre affecting children.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen explains that problem.

“Montana for the last few years has been number one or two in the country as far as per capita children in foster care. It has absolutely overwhelmed our system. We don’t have enough foster families. We don’t have enough social workers.” -Montana Attorney General Knudsen

According to in 2006 there were 1,962 children in Montana foster care. In 2016 that number increased to 3,366. Over the 10-year period the number of children in foster care increased by 71.6 percent.

Chamene Plum the Executive Director for CASA in Havre, an organization that advocates for foster children says those numbers are still increasing in the Havre area.

“In our CASA cases was 18 removals in 2021 and now 72 in 2022.”– Chamene Plum

Because of the drastic increase in kids needing to be placed in foster care Chamene echoes the Attorney general, there’s not enough volunteers or foster homes.

“We’re really short on CASA volunteers to advocate for the kids and foster homes in the area. I know that there have been children placed out of the area like Fort Benton and Great Falls into their foster homes just because we don’t have enough.”-Chamene Plum

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen blames drugs and primarily meth for the high number of kids in foster care.

“Yeah, we know what’s driving it. It’s meth, it’s fentanyl, but just from my experience as a county attorney, it’s meth. When you’ve got meth amphetamine addicted individuals who would rather do drugs and get high than take care of their children or even worse than that are willing to sell their children in order for them to get their next high. I think we do have a duty to step in with Child Protective Services and do right by those children. But that is what’s driving it. I will say that’s my opinion, but I think it’s a pretty well-informed opinion.”-Attorney General Knudsen

Chamene has also noticed meth as the primary reason for children in foster care in the Havre area.

“I can tell you the reasons for our area is meth, drugs, removal of children due to that issue in our area, a lot of the cases come through for that reason.”-Chamene Plum


  1. I think it’s the money the state makes on each foster kid is the biggest issue. I know people that should not have gotten their kids taken away and I know people that should not be able to have any more kids. I think our system is messed up and they looking at dollar signs and not at the whole picture

    • Our systems definitely messed up that believe me the money they make off kids is not worth what you think it is. Realistically they don’t make enough

  2. When the children get taken away, then given back, then taken away again, the parents should be sterilized. The parents need parenting classes. Sterilization should be an option for the parents, both men and women.

  3. Are there children in Montana that need adopted as well as fostered as we want to adopt. We have been fostering for five yrs now n yes it’s very sad that kiddos have to b removed from their homes n very sad when they are given back to parents that choose not to get better .

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