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Concerns voiced over Montana public health funding cuts - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Concerns voiced over Montana public health funding cuts

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The non-profit Youth Dynamics is worried about the states’s public health in the midst of cuts to those services. (MTN News photo) The non-profit Youth Dynamics is worried about the states’s public health in the midst of cuts to those services. (MTN News photo)
KALISPELL -

Recently legislatures in Montana have made a decision make significant cuts to public health funding.

These cuts come on the heels of a serious public health crisis as Montana has seen a rise in suicide, childhood mental illness, a growing drug epidemic and rising foster care numbers.

Youth Dynamics, a non-profit children’s behavioral health agency across Montana, is worried about the states’s public health in the midst of cuts to those services.

The cuts are beginning in October with a 3.5% cut across the board to public health services. They come during a statewide public health crisis as upwards of 3,900 kids are in foster care among many other issues.

Youth Dynamics spokeswoman Katie Gerten believes these cuts coming when a high percentage of children are in foster care could have lengthy repercussions for the state.

“So for instance, the children in foster care they have a higher likely hood when they grow up of entering the justice system or going to, ya know, being imprisoned. They have a much higher rate of homelessness, of having their own children removed and enter the system. This is going to be costly for our state for a long time.”

Gerten doesn’t just think the cuts will have lasting effects on public health but will become much costlier for the state -- through trips to the emergency room and other higher levels of medical care that will result from health not being treated at the ground level.

She wants to cut the problem off now rather than down the road when it becomes more expensive.

“Just making sure out resources are there so basically like thinking ahead instead of paying later. Not only does it make better sense but it’s just better for children, and families and anybody really…Montanans.”

Youth Dynamics has plans to push through the cuts and find funding from outside sources, however believes other organizations will struggle to provide support for Montanans in need.

“I can’t say what other agencies are going to do. Everybody of course has heard in the news some serious concerns about different agencies being able to continue to provide services to and that is concerning because there is such a need in our state.”

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