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Child abuse, neglect cases rise in Missoula County

By The Associated Press
Published On: Oct 20 2013 11:08:49 AM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The number of child neglect and abuse cases in Missoula County has more than tripled since 2011.
    
The Missoula Office of the Public Defender says there has been a total of 357 open child neglect and abuse cases in fiscal year 2013.
    
Officials tell the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/1a0w8KW) that's up from 283 open cases in 2012 and 95 open cases in 2011.
    
Regional Deputy Public Defender Dave Stenerson says the increase is draining the agency's financial resources and overwhelming staff.
    
The public defender's office in 2013 spent more than $700,000 on child neglect and abuse cases, adding up to nearly 17 percent of the total amount spent by the office.
    
Officials say the office is required to hire outside attorneys to represent all the individuals in each case.