I don’t know what are acceptable casualty rates for children and I don’t know how legislators make decisions on budget cuts.

I do know that funding cuts to Targeted Case Management for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs will result in infants and children dying. Case management for these children is a bit of a misnomer. It is the safety net for the littlest Montana children living in the high-risk, medically challenged, resource-deprived, stressed-out families. It is getting children and families what they need in time to make a difference.

I wish I could tell you these children vote, but they do not. I wish I could tell you philanthropists will step in and save these children, but you can’t put your name on the life of a child.

In Montana, the deaths of every child aged 0 to 18 years are reviewed to see if the death was preventable. After serving on the Yellowstone County’s Fetal Infant Child Mortality Review team for 20 years, I have an in-depth understanding of why children die. It has been a curse knowing the details of how children die and a gift to save the lives of others.

I can tell you three final truths.

Most deaths are preventable.

Children seldom die when they get Case Management for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.

I cannot think of a single program that is more important than saving the lives of children.

Doug Andersen