CRIME

Feds tell Montana to comply with disclosure rules or face loss of child abuse prevention aid

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2014 file photo, sitting in her home in Butte, Mont., Jennifer Blaz, 34, holds the small hand print, hair clipping and footprint given to her by the hospital after the death of her daughter, Mattisyn, in 2013. Earlier in the day, Matthew Blaz, 33, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the death of their infant daughter. In a document obtained by The Associated Press in August 2015, the federal government says it will strip Montana of a child abuse prevention grant if the state does not start providing the public with required details about children who die from abuse and neglect. The AP obtained the letter from Montana officials after filing a federal Freedom of Information Act with HHS. (AP Photo/Lido Vizzutti)

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2014 file photo, sitting in her home in Butte, Mont., Jennifer Blaz, 34, holds the small hand print, hair clipping and footprint given to her by the hospital after the death of her daughter, Mattisyn, in 2013. Earlier in the day, Matthew Blaz, 33, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the death of their infant daughter. In a document obtained by The Associated Press in August 2015, the federal government says it will strip Montana of a child abuse prevention grant if the state does not start providing the public with required details about children who die from abuse and neglect. The AP obtained the letter from Montana officials after filing a federal Freedom of Information Act with HHS. (AP Photo/Lido Vizzutti)  (The Associated Press)

The federal government says it will strip Montana of a child abuse prevention grant if the state doesn't start releasing information about children who die of abuse and neglect, but Montana officials say a state confidentiality law prevents them from releasing the information.

An Associated Press investigation into child abuse deaths revealed last December that Montana's law violates the grant's rules, which require public access to information about child abuse deaths.

Montana officials sought a change in the law earlier this year, but no bill was passed before the legislative session ended.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the state will lose the nearly $120,000 annual grant if it doesn't submit compliance plans by Monday or explain why it legally should not be required to comply.