BOZEMAN - The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office will be working with two deputies and a social worker for their new Youth and Family Outreach Program in an attempt to intervene in child abuse and to help youth toward success.
Sheriff Dan Springer notes that the office began working on this program about 18 months ago, finding deputies, and the securing of grant funding has brought them to this point.
“Take these deputies out there, go find these kids that might be endangered, and even if they’re not endangered, maybe they’re in some kind of neglect,” Springer said, “The precipice for this program came about during — when Alex was killed in West Yellowstone.”
James Alexander Hurley was 12 years old when he was found dead in his grandparents' West Yellowstone home in February 2020. Investigators say they found videos of Hurley being tortured by members of his extended family before his death.
“The deputies and the detectives that worked on the case—that was a very difficult case for them—so the office said we don’t want this to happen again in our community,” Springer said.
Springer goes on to say what a vital role the community plays in preventing child abuse and neglect, as well as providing assistance, "we have an amazing community,” Springer said. “We have volunteers that work through multiple different programs.”
One of these opportunities is the Gallatin County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. Executive Director Glenda Noyes says that in 2021 there were 154 children served by the Gallatin County CASA program.
“We give kids a voice, we are not attorneys,” Noyes said, “making sure their needs and their best interests are at the forefront of every situation.”
CASA relies on volunteers to advocate for children’s needs in the court system and to spend time with the children.