Montana. Dept. of Public Health and Human Services.

DPHHS News (Volume 1998 MAY) online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryMontana. Dept. of Public Health and Human ServicesDPHHS News (Volume 1998 MAY) → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

IVIontana State Library


MAY 13 1998

^^, 1515 E. 6th AVE.

Montana State Library

3 0864 1004 7917


■ - ^- ^ - ^ ^^^ •■P^ggtmentoTPublic Health & Human Services


May 1998


Approximately 125,000 families nationwide provide family
foster care to children who are unrelated to them. Like
the rest of the nation, Montana's need for family foster
care is escalating. In Montana, there are approximately
1,000 families who open their hearts and homes each
year to children who are unable to live with their birth

Foster parents are very special people from various
walks of life. They are dedicated parents with many
talents and capabilities that often go unnoticed. In the
past, children came to foster care primarily because
parents died or became incapacitated by illness. Today,
children come into foster care because of abuse or
neglect and, as a result, have far more complicated
needs. Their stay may be as short as one night or as
long as several years. Because of the hardship or
maltreatment they experienced at home, the trauma of
being separated from birth parents, and the uncertainty
of their future, these children often experience emotional
problems. Despite these enormous challenges, many
children remain remarkably resilient because of dedicated
foster families. According to Hank Hudson, DPHHS
Administrator for the Child and Family Services Division,
"Family foster parents are the foundation of a caring
children's service system. Every day foster parents make
a big difference for over 2,000 Montana kids."

Jackie Stoeckel, a Permanency Planning Specialist for the
DPHHS Eastern Region, located in Miles City said,
"During my 11 years with the agency, I have seen the
role of foster parenting change and broaden
considerably. Foster parents today not only provide safe
shelter, food and clothing, but are evolving into
professional partners working with the agency supporting
and facilitating parental visitations and reunification,
along with monitoring medical, dental, psychological,
developmental and educational services."

Out of a need to support local foster parents, the Miles
City Foster Care Project was created in 1990. It began
with the idea of recruitment and now has flourished into
a variety of projects that promote recognition and
support for local foster families.

(Continued on Pa%


I I Foster Care and Foster Parent
V Recognition Month

Osteoporosis Prevention Month
National Older Americans Month

May 3 - 9

National Mental Health Counseling Week


Governor's Council on Families

8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Contact; Gary Curtis — (406) 444-9530

May 12

Governor's Abstinence Educ. Advisory Co.
Cogswell Building/Room C-209 — Helena
10:00 am -4:00 pm
Contact: Patty White — (406) 444-3609

May 15 -16

"Taking Charge of D/abetes" Conference

Yogo Inn — Lewistown

Contact: Todd Harwell — (406) 444-0593

May 17 -23

National Emergency Medical Services Week

May 20

Brown Bag Lunch Presentation

Speaker: Walt Timmerman

Cogswell Building/Room C-307

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Contact: Dr. Mike Spence — (406) 444-1286

May 21

"Lunch with the Director"

Child Support Enforcement Offices

3075 North Montana Avenue — Helena

12:00 pm- 1:00 pm

Contact: Susan Ramsey — (406) 444-0924

May 26

Long-Term Care Town Forum

"Legal Issues for the Elderly: Fraud"

Airs on Montana Public Television

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Contact: Debbie Horton — (406) 444-7782

May 27

National Senior Health and Fitness Day

May 27 - 28

Montana Family Planning Council
Cogswell BIdg/Rm C-209 B — Helena
27th : 1 am - 5 pm / 28th : 8 am - noon
Contact: Suzanne Nybo — (406) 444-3775

May 28 - 29

"The Challenge of Permanency"
Best Western Colonial Inn — Helena
;ii 28th: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm / 29th: 8:30 am - 3 pm
III Contact: Gail Clifford — (406) 444-5900

III ^ May 31
^W .World No Tobacco Day

A Message From the Director

Laurie Ekanger
DPHHS Director

Change is good. Change is
good. I've been joking
lately that this is my mantra.
I say it at the start of every
day. Even when I try to
stand still, the world
changes around me. Two
key people with whom I
work every day are moving
on to better opportunities.
Anastasia Burton has
accepted the position of
press secretary to Governor Racicot and
Donna Hansen is taking her talents from the
Director's Office to the DPHHS Human
Resources Office. Change is good for them,
and we will have to work a bit at making this
change good for us.

Making change work was on my mind
recently when Child and Family Services
Division hosted an interdisciplinary discussion
on welfare reform for our department in
Helena. The turnout was wonderful! People
from vocational rehabilitation, public health,
chemical dependency, family planning, child
support enforcement, and others came to

offer suggestions and to help make welfare
reform work for the public. 1 thought, "This
was why the DPHHS was created - to give us
means and opportunity to bring out the best
in all our programs toward common goals."
Our next interdisciplinary discussion topic will
be the Children's Health Insurance Plan
(CHIP), hosted by Health Policy and Services

One of the neat things about living in a fast
changing world is the opportunity to find and
use new tools (automation, equipment,
treatments, processes, etc.) to better serve
our customers. To help us accomplish this,
two DPHHS training committees, the
Leadership Training Committee and the New
Employee Training Committee, will make
recommendations for teaching us essential
skills we all need to work successfully.

I think the key to making change a good
thing is the effect it has on our customers.
Our department serves customers to improve
their quality of life. Our customers will tell
us what changes work best. We just need
to ask and to listen.

The Governor's Briefing on the Montana Health
Agenda was held In Helena on April 6. The
Montana Health Agenda was developed by
DPHHS In collaboration with health professionals
throughout the state.

The briefing was one of many activities held during
Public Health Week. DPHHS staff worked In
partnership with representatives from the
Department of Transportation, the Department of
Justice, Lewis and Clark and Jefferson County
Health Departments, and St. Peter's Hospital to
coordinate Public Health Week activities In the
Helena area.

Governor Marc Racicot Is pictured with
government officials who attended the briefing.
(L-R) Laurie Ekanger, Sherry Spence, Priscllla
Sinclair, Governor Marc Racicot, Nancy Ellery,
Dr Michael Spence, Joan Miles and Joan Holiday

Photo: Anastasia Burton

(Foster Care . . . continued from Cover)


Currently, the most successful project has
been the Backpack Project. Backpacks, filled
with basic items such as essential clothing,
coloring books, toiletries, and stuffed animals,
are provided to children who are entering
foster care for the first time. It began as a
way to help provide first-time necessities to
foster parents, but has emerged as an
"essential" for children in foster care in the
Miles City area. ""We are amazed at the
community response by its donation of filled
backpacks or financial contributions. It"s the
community's most tangible way of
acknowledging those exceptional tasks that
foster parents encounter. It has been a
successful vehicle for making the public
aware of the reality of child protective
services in our community," Stoeckel said.

Miles City is but a snap shot of the state and
the nation. There is a need for more
remarkable parents to "open their hearts and
homes" to children, especially to care for
sibling groups and others who have special
needs. Individuals as well as community
organizations can get involved. "Every
community member has something to offer
these special children. Support foster
parents, become a foster parent or reach out
to the children in your neighborhood. For all
those who are currently helping, thank you
from the bottom of our hearts," Hudson said.

If you"d like to learn more about becoming a
foster parent or how you can help support
children in foster care in your community, call
your local Child and Family Services Division

It's payday - do you know what the codes on
your pay stub represent? If you are an
employee wondering about all those codes,
here are the most common payroll codes and




Deferred Compensation



Flex Account Dependent Care



Flex Account Medical Care



Flex Account Administration Fee



Medical Insurance



Dental Insurance



Vision Hardware Insurance



Vision Exam Insurance



Basic Life Insurance



Dependent Life Insurance



Employee Supplemental Life



Supplemental Spouse Life



Accidental Death &
Dismemberment Insurance



Union Dues (MFSE)



State Employees Combined
Contribution (SECC)



Union Dues (MPEA)



Federal Income Tax



State Income Tax



Social Security



Medicare/Social Security



Retirement Tax Deferred



Earned Income Credit



Workers' Compensation



Total Deductions



Insurance credit

For more information call Daria Tenter, Payroll
Supervisor at 444-4054.


Kryss Kuntz, Director

Montana Telecommunication Access Program

iVIailing Address: 111 North Last Chance Gulch
Helena, MT 59620


(406) 444-1486
[email protected]

Photo Brian LaMoure

Kryss Kuntz was nanned director of the Montana Teleconnmunications Access Program (MTAP) in
March. Kryss had been acting director since December, 1997. Kryss is responsible for the
program operations and reports to the Governor's Committee on Telecommunications Access
Service. This program works with hard of hearing, deaf and speech impaired individuals by
distributing specialized telephone equipment for their use, such as a Text Telephone (commonly
referred to as TTY). Kryss also oversees the Montana Relay Service, which relays calls between
the Text Telephone users and the general public. MTAP staff offer training to state offices to help
them meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for individuals with hearing

Kryss was born and raised in Helena and graduated from Capital High School. She received a
bachelor's degree in Education from Eastern Montana College (now MSU-Billings). Following
graduation from college, Kryss completed an interpreter training program in St. Paul, Minnesota.
She interpreted for schools in Bozeman, Helena, Billings and Kalispell. Kryss then joined the MTAP
program in 1989.

Kryss said, "I enjoy interpreting for the deaf and hard of hearing in many different situations. I
had the honor of being the first interpreter to sign the State of the State Address for Governor
Racicot." She also had the privilege of interpreting for Ross Perot when he made a campaign
speech in Helena.

When Kryss turned 35, she decided to challenge herself and complete at least one new
accomplishment each year. She has successfully completed a bungee jump, learned how to fly,
survived white water rafting, and learned how to scuba dive. Kryss stated that this year she is
looking forward to the challenge of her new job.

Photos: Laurie Ekanger

The Montana Eligibility Workers Association Annual conference was held in partnership with the Montana Family
Support and Child Abuse Prevention Conference. The joint session was held in Billings March 30 through April 1.

Above left: Governor Marc Racicot presented the "Dinosaur Award" to Geret Guiberson. an eligibility specialist in the
Missoula County Office of Public Assistance. Geret received this award for her idea to implement a change in the
computer system for greater efficiency.

Above right: Pictured are Sheryl Stinchfield and Shirley Skinner, two of the conference committee members. Sheryl
works at the Yellowstone County Office of Public Assistance. Shirley was the MEWA President and is from the
Rosebud County Office of Public Assistance.

Youth Summit Set for June 14 - 16

In Montana, as in so many other states,
prison populations are rising. Youth crimes
and teen pregnancy rates are increasing.
Drug and alcohol abuse is up. Young people
lack work skills, and many families lack
access to quality, affordable child care. In
response to these critical societal issues.
Governor Marc Racicot and Lieutenant
Governor Judy Martz, along with Montana's
four living former governors, will be hosting
the Governors' Summit on Youth: Montana's
Promise, June 14 - 16 at the Billings Holiday
Inn and Convention Center.

The summit is a unique event which will chart
the course for Montana's future over the next
few years. The goal of the conference is to
mobilize communities, organizations and
businesses to reach out to 10,000 young
people by the year 2000 who are not
currently reached by existing Montana
programs. Summit organizers want to make
sure young people have five critical resources
necessary to survive and thrive in the next

Nurture : a healthy start in life;

Mentor : an ongoing relationship with a caring
family member, adult, tutor or coach;

Protect : safe places and structured activities
after school;

Teach : a marketable skill through effective
education; and

Serve : an opportunity to give back through
community service.

"Communities hold the key to solving many of
our country's problems, and it's in
communities where the solutions have to be
implemented," said Summit Coordinator Kirk
Astroth, a Montana State University extension
specialist in Bozeman.

At the summit, local delegations will
participate in activities to foster enthusiasm
and develop action plans to impact the lives
of Montana's youth. The summit will feature
nationally known speakers, interactive
workshops, informational resources,
acknowledgment of volunteers and highlights
of successful youth programs.

Several former presidents and other national
dignitaries have been invited to participate.
Confirmed speakers include Billy Mills, former
Olympic athlete; Robert Goodwin, chairman
and president of the Points of Light
Foundation; and Amber Coffman, Maryland
teenager and recipient of the 1997
President's Service Award for her project that
helped feed 25,000 homeless people in her

Kirk said, "The conference will be one of the
most important events of 1998. Prior to the
summit, a team of delegates from Montana
communities will be invited to participate.
United Way officials. Women's, Infants' and
Children's Program (WIC) directors, MSU
county extension agents and probation
officers will be responsible for coordinating
and assembling delegations." These
organizations in each county have summit
information and forms to register community
delegations. Each local team will share best
practices and begin to develop formal action
plans to achieve broader citizen engagement
and additional local commitments. The event
is also intended to foster ideas about
mechanisms to improve communication
among communities.

"I hope every community in Montana will
send a delegation to the summit and engage
in a serious dialogue with us about improving
the future for our young people," Governor
Racicot stated. He added that the summit is
not the end of the effort, but just the
beginning of a multi-year endeavor to help
communities help their young citizens. The
summit is a collaborative effort supported by
the business community, government, the
university system, non-profit foundations,
tribal agencies, religious organizations and
many other groups. Funds are also being
raised by the private sector.

All Montana communities are encouraged to
participate. For more information or
registration materials, contact Kirk Astroth at
(406) 994-3501 or visit the Summit website
at or contact your local
MSU extension agent.


Joe Mathews, Administrator
of the Disability Services
Division (DSD), was recently
honored by his alma mater,
' k Montana State University-
' Mm Billings (MSU), and was
\ ^M awarded the Alumni
ifljJH Association's Recognition for
Exceptional Contribution. This
honor, one of six given annually, recognizes
alumni who have distinguished themselves in
their field and have brought pride and
recognition to the University and to their
community. The awards ceremony was held
in March on the campus of MSU-Billings.

Mathews, who grew up in Moore, Montana,
received both a Bachelor of Science degree
in Education and a Master of Science degree
in Rehabilitation Counseling from MSU-
Billings. He has spent the last 20 years of
his career focusing on employment
opportunities for Montanans with disabilities.
After graduation, he worked as a counselor
in Billings and then became the district
supervisor at the Miles City Vocational
Rehabilitation Office. He and his family
eventually moved to Great Falls where he
served for 12 years as the Regional Manager
for Vocational Rehabilitation. In 1990, a
position as the administrator of the Montana
Vocational Rehabilitation Program brought
him to Helena. Upon the creation of DPHHS
in 1995, he assumed his current position as
the administrator of the DSD.

On being honored, Mathews described his
receipt of the award as a "a complete
surprise." He went on to say, "I was very
taken aback by it. The nomination was put

together by a couple of professors who work
in the university's disability programs with
whom I've worked for a long time. There
were apparently a lot of people who were
nominated. To be selected as one of the six
was meaningful to me and certainly
humbling. To be honored just for the work I
do every day is obviously something real
special to me."

As an administrator, Mathews is responsible
for more than 600 employees. The DSD
provides or contracts for a wide variety of
services including institutional care,
residential services, home-based services to
families, and case management. The
programs within the division include the
Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the
Developmental Disabilities Program, the
Disability Determination Services, the
Montana Developmental Center in Boulder,
and the Eastmont Human Services Center in

Mathews has long been recognized, both
statewide and nationally, for his outstanding
work. In 1981, he served as president of the
Montana Association for Rehabilitation, and
was later given the organization's seldom-
granted President's Award in 1985. He was
appointed by the governor in 1990 to serve
as Montana's representative to the National
Organization on Disability. Nationally, he is
the chairman of the Council of State
Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation
Employment Committee. Department
Director Laurie Ekanger concurred with the
honor bestowed upon Mathews. "Joe has
displayed a tremendous commitment to the
disability services arena," she commented.
"It is only appropriate that he would be
recognized for his many achievements and

Dressed for the part as a banana and an apple,
Annette Peterson and Sherry Spence celebrate
healthy lifestyles by handing out apples and oranges
at the health fair held April 8 at Capital Hill Mall in
Helena. This was one of many Public Health Week
events sponsored by DPHHS.

Photo Anne McDonough


Since its inception last May, the Native American
Advisory Council has met four times to advise
the department on issues as they pertain to the
Native American community. As the next
legislative session nears, the advisory council is
concerned with legislative issues that will impact
tribes and urban Indian people. An important
concern of the advisory council is the impact of
welfare reform on reservation and urban Indian
people as well as the impact of tribal assumption
of welfare reform programs —particularly in light
of the possibility that Montana could reject
federal welfare reform funds. Presentations about
welfare reform continue to be a part of each
advisory council meeting and will be on future

At the March meeting. Hank Hudson gave a
legislative update and explained the Executive
Planning Process (EPP) that is currently underway.
He told the council that each department
administrator is responsible for submitting
proposals to the department director who, in turn,
submits the proposals to the Governor for
consideration during the legislative process.
Director Laurie Ekanger told the council that the
Department of Public Health and Human Services
will be looking at ways to be more effective in
how state funds are spent.

Future advisory council meetings will continue
to focus on the legislative process and
information about how to effectively address
current health and human services issues that
impact Montanans and particularly Montana's
Native Americans.






Have you been wanting to volunteer lately? Do
you have too many commitments to volunteer
once a week? Having a hard time deciding
upon an organization to contact? The
American Red Cross (ARC) is looking for
someone just like you.

The ARC needs volunteers who are willing to
donate blood, and who can volunteer several
times throughout the year. As the largest
supplier of blood in the United States, the ARC
holds blood drawings all across Montana each
year. Two bloodmobiles exist in the state: one

based out of Missoula serves western Montana
and the other based out of Great Falls serves
eastern Montana. Jim Barfknecht, a Helena-
based volunteer coordinator, comments, "The
Great Falls bloodmobile covers a lot of territory.
It catches a lot of northern and eastern towns
in its travels, including Glasgow, Glendive,
Miles City, Sidney, Plentywood, Havre, Chinook,
and Malta."

Although walk-ins are welcome, scheduling an
appointment almost always means less time
spent by the donor at the blood center. With
an appointment, blood donors can expect to
spend between 45 and 50 minutes at the
center, including time at the "canteen"
afterwards for replenishing fluids and other
refreshments. Barfknecht explains that while
blood can be drawn from someone every 56
days, blood draws usually occur in
communities about every 2 months.
Furthermore, once people decide to become
regular donors, the ARC notifies them in
advance of the upcoming blood drawings.

James Driggers, Home and Community-Based
Services Specialist of the Disability Services
Division, has been giving blood for many years.
He regularly participates in the ARC blood
center that is set up at the State Capitol. "It
is really important that the Red Cross continues
having blood draws at the Capitol," Driggers
comments. "The Capitol draw is very
convenient for those of us who work in the
Capitol complex. It really is so easy for people
to fit a donation into their schedules." Blood
donation has even become somewhat of a
competition among the regular donors; the
Great Falls office maintains a chart of every
donor's contribution, which includes the
"gallons" of blood donated by some longtime

The next blood drawings in the Helena area
will occur at the Capitol, Senate Office
Chambers, Room 312, on June 9, 1998, from
10:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM. and at the
Department of Transportation auditorium on
June 10, 1998, from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Before donating blood, Barfknecht reminds
everyone to eat a good breakfast or lunch. He
adds, "If donors are hungry, they can stop by
the 'canteen' before they donate and eat
something to maintain their energy level."

For more information, or to make an appoint-
ment to donate blood in your area, call the
Great Falls ARC office at 1 (800) 448-3543.

News and information about the programs and
people in the DPHHS are presented in this
monthly newsletter. This edition was produced
by a committee of employees from various areas
of the agency. The Newsletter Committee
welcomes your suggestions and comments. Ideas


Online LibraryMontana. Dept. of Public Health and Human ServicesDPHHS News (Volume 1998 MAY) → online text (page 1 of 2)