Ali Bovingdon

The deadline set for the Protect Montana Kids Commission to draft recommendations to deal with the state’s struggling child abuse and neglect services may have to be pushed back.

Officials say the number of child abuse and neglect cases in Montana is overwhelming state agencies in charge of handling them. A legislative committee that oversees the Division of Child and Family Services is meeting in Helena on Monday.

On Monday Governor Steve Bullock announced Montana will be hiring 33 new social workers for the Department of Child and Family Services. He says the new positions represent a 160 percent increase in the number of staff providing frontline services to children and families.

A Missoula County Commissioner believes County Attorney, Fred Van Valkenburg is throwing the commission “under the bus” in the county’s lawsuit against the federal Department of Justice.

The DOJ has been investigating how Missoula law enforcement, the University of Montana and the County Attorney’s Office handle sexual assault cases after a string of such crimes were brought to light in 2012.