Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

What Maternal Health Care Can Do To Prevent Family Separations

On the Fort Peck Reservation, a health-first approach to reducing foster care removals is getting off the ground.

Native American children make up more than a third of the foster care caseload in Montana, despite representing less than 10% of the state's child population. While there's a broad consensus among child welfare experts that this outsized representation is a problem, the state lacks a collective strategy to address it. The Montana Free Press series Keeping the Kids, supported by a data fellowship through the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, explores the available data and highlights examples of local solutions around the state. This article focuses on a prenatal health intervention program getting off the ground in a northeast Montana county where the rate of children in foster care far exceeds state and national figures.

This article was originally published in the Montana Free Press.

In 2021, when now-32-year-old Natalie Van Houten took her first job as a certified nurse midwife in Wolf Point and Poplar, the two largest towns on the Fort Peck Reservation, she found some challenges she hadn't anticipated.


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