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Date: January 10, 2020
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer
, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757
                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391, (406) 461-8367

DPHHS announces new Early Childhood and Family Support Division

Director Sheila Hogan announced today that a new division within the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has been created to better coordinate existing services for children and families.

“This is an exciting opportunity to improve how we’re providing services for children and families in Montana,” Director Hogan said. “The new division will strengthen relationships within the department and with key stakeholders across the state. By working together, we are better able to provide a healthy start for our youngest children.”

The new Early Childhood and Family Support Division (ECFSD) consolidates several programs within DPHHS to improve collaboration and align funding, priorities, and practices.

Hogan said it also creates operational efficiencies and supports the DPHHS strategic plan to ensure all children and youth achieve their highest potential.

The ECFSD brings together child care licensing, early childhood services including financial assistance and quality improvement, early intervention services for young children with developmental delays, child nutrition programs, home visiting, and child, adolescent, and family health programs.

Specifically, it includes all current programs within the Early Childhood Services and Family and Community Health Bureaus, Child Care Licensing, No Kid Hungry, Montana Milestones/ Part C Early Intervention, Family Education and Support Program, and the Montana Children’s Trust Fund.

Jamie Palagi, who has served as the DPHHS Human and Community Services Division Administrator for the past eight years, will lead the new division. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Family Science and Child Development and a master’s degree in Human Services leadership and has worked with or on behalf of children and families for over 25 years.

Palagi stressed the new division is an opportunity to focus on quality early childhood efforts and family supports. “I see this as an opportunity to partner with communities, providers, and families to ensure children have what they need to thrive,” she said.

DPHHS recently published an early childhood needs assessment and strategic plan, identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement across the state related to children’s services. The strategic plan will guide some of the work of the new division over the next several years. Programs and services will continue as staff in the new division transition. DPHHS will work with staff, providers and consumers over the next several months as the new division comes together.

If you are in crisis and want help, call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline,
24/7, at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or text ‘MT’ to 741-741.

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MSU Center for Mental Health Research & Recovery



Season Greetings, Southeastern Montanans,

We want to reach out to our friends in Eastern Montana and thank you all for your help in sharing “the word” about the evidence-based mental health programs that we have been developing and then disseminating throughout Montana. While most of you know the programs, they are briefly described in the updated documents shown as Attachments I, II and III. We were also very pleased to see a thoughtful piece about the programs in the Miles City Star November 22 (see Attachment IV).

The holiday season is such a special time for all of us, our families, friends and the people with whom we work. But, as you all know, it is also a time that can create extra stress, anxiety and depression for some folks. So please remember that one can still enroll in Thrive for Montana (free enrollment has been extended to June 30, 2020) to enhance one’s own wellness and alleviate possible “holiday” blues (see Attachment I for enrollment information).

We here in Bozeman with Montana State University and One Montana wish to acknowledge and thank you for all the work you have done, are doing, and will continue to do in improving and nurturing the mental health of rural Eastern Montanans. No one has done more for rural Montanans than you have. And, we have the data to prove it!

Have a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year. We will continue to be there for you in 2020.


Mark                                                              Bill

Mark Schure, PhD                                      Bill Bryan, PhD
Assistant Professor                                     Co-Founder and Program Manager
Montana State University                         One Montana, Bozeman, MT           

cc: Sandra Anderson (


Attachment 1:  download
Attachment 2:  download
Attachment 3:  download
Attachment 4:  download

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MET Transit Survey

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Here is a link to a Billings MET Transit survey.  This is an opportunity for advocacy and our voice.

To view the MET Transit site please go to:

Categories : Information, Surveys
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This is exciting news for Missoula!

Note:  Missoula was awarded 20 Mainstream Vouchers valued at $136,572; Montana Department of Commerce (with a Letter of Commitment from DPHHS to provide services) was awarded 60 Mainstream Vouchers valued at $351,785.  These are tenant-based vouchers dedicated to non-elderly, disabled individuals/households.

At the State level, Commerce did not apply for the Family Unification Vouchers or the Foster Youth to Independence Vouchers because the required partnership with DPHHS did not provide the housing supports service delivery required by HUD.  It’s impressive that Missoula is accomplishing these wins at the local level!  As we continue to develop our partnerships and find ways to incorporate housing support services into our DPHHS Medicaid and non-Medicaid programs, we will be better poised to bring these funding awards into Montana.

Funding granted to Missoula Housing Authority to end veterans and at-risk youth homelessness in Missoula

Stella Sun ABC FOX Montana

Funding is granted to Missoula Housing Authority in an effort to end U.S. veteran and at-risk youth homelessness in Missoula.

For the U.S. veterans, the Missoula Housing Authority was awarded $213,744 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing Program (HUD-VASH). The funding will provide 32 housing vouchers to veterans without homes in the area.

Jim McGrath the Director of HUD Programs at the Missoula Housing Authority, which works to provide low and middle-income families affordable housing solutions, said there are more than 60 homeless veterans in the area.

With these vouchers, veterans can take them to any landlord in the area. The veteran will pay about 30 percent of their income towards rent, and the rest of their rent will be paid by the voucher. If the veteran has no income, then the voucher will pay for all of the rent.

McGrath said the grant will help us get one step closer to ending veteran homelessness in the area.

“Missoula is poised to become a community where we have ended homelessness for veterans. This is a key, final resource in a sense to hopefully push us over the line in that goal,” McGrath said.

McGrath added the funding is on-going permanent vouchers, meaning the $213,744 will be granted again each fiscal year.

In addition to the grant funding to help end veteran homelessness in the area from HUD, the Missoula Housing Authority was also granted another set of up to 25 vouchers for homeless young adults who age out of the foster care system. The money comes from the HUD’s Foster Youth for Independence Initiative, and works in coordination with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

McGrath added for the first time in two decades, the Missoula Housing Authority was also awarded 20 new section eight vouchers that will help pay rent for families with disabled members. The section eight voucher program is the federal government’s program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and disabled get housing in the private market.

The vouchers, called “mainstream,” are worth a total of $136,572. The families eligible pay a total of 30 percent of their income towards their rent. The vouchers will then cover the rest of their rent and utilities.

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SAMHSA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

SAMHSA has announced three Grants that are available.  To view the grants please go to:

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