Shirley Tiernan

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Chief - Montana Department of Public Health

Bureau Chief for Child and Family Services - Montana Department of Public Health

Bureau Chief

Montana Health Department's child

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Shirley TiernanBureau Chief for TrainingMontana Department of Public Health & Human Services

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Montana authorities take youths in wilderness program into custody - Local News -

The youths were "cold and dirty" when found, but otherwise appeared unhurt, said Shirley Tiernan, chief of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services child and family services division. "We've notified the parents, and we're waiting for them to come pick up their children," she said Friday. The teens, who Tiernan said range in age from 13 to 17, apparently were camping on land near the small town of Ramsay, west of Butte.A neighboring land owner called authorities earlier this week after noticing the kids had been there for a number of days with only makeshift shelters from the cold and rain. Social workers who visited Wednesday reported the kids had very limited food, some of which had spoiled, Tiernan said.Most of the kids also did not have proper clothing for the weather, she added.All were taken into custody early Thursday morning, she said.Two counselors who were with the teens were not detained. The youths all were enrolled in the High Peaks Wilderness Program, based in Roosevelt, Utah. Authorities in that state on Thursday won a court order shutting the operation down for alleged violations of licensing and safety requirements.

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The child that remained in Montana, a girl, needed treatment, said Shirley Tiernan, bureau chief for Child and Family Services of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. "She was retained for medical reasons.She will go back to Iowa too, but I don't know when.That's up to the medical folks," Tiernan said.

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