Former Montana Foster Care Worker Sentenced

A former foster care worker received a deferred sentence after facing charges for hitting a young girl in her care last year. According to the Montana.gov website, in the state of Montana (where this incident occurred) a judge can order that a sentence be deferred for 1-6 years under certain circumstances. If an offender successfully completes the deferred term, a district judge may allow him or her to change a plea of guilty to not guilty and dismiss the case.

Last year, a woman who worked at a foster home was reported to have tried force feeding a seven-year-old girl. She then hit her in the back of the head with her palm and whipped her in the face with a towel. The woman was being charged with felony assault on a minor from the January 2019 incident. The police were involved at the time of the incident and reviewed video surveillance to see exactly what happened. In the video surveillance it showed the woman walking behind the child and when she struck the back of the child’s head with her palm, the girl girls head thrusted forward and struck a bowl on the table in front of her. This caused the child to sustain a red mark above her eye and express to police the pain she underwent. It was reported from a few news outlets that this woman may have previously had a conviction in Utah for domestic abuse in the presence of a child and violation of a protection order. Although unclear on these allegations the foster home spoke out regarding those news reports. The foster home said they conduct three background checks for each employee before hiring.

The deferred sentence was given by the judge who noted that this incident marks her very first felony case on record. The woman said her behavior came from a lack of training from her place of work. The district court judge disagreed with that statement, and shared words of his own. The judge stated, “I don’t know if it takes any training to know that you don’t hit a defenseless child in the head and in the face … This abuse that they suffered is going to be with them. It’s not something that they’re ever going to forget.”

The district court judge expressed that the women can no longer work in childcare, and be around minors, including her grandchildren, until she completes an anger management course.