Billings Child Protection Staff Face Crisis-Level Caseloads

Division of Child and Family Services decided to close its Livingston office and move most of its caseworker jobs to Billings

By Molly Priddy

HELENA — The head of the state health department says child protection workers in Billings are facing “crisis level caseloads” leading the Division of Child and Family Services to decide to close its Livingston office and move most of its caseworker jobs to Billings to better respond to the number of children being abused or neglected in Yellowstone County.

The decision to close the Livingston office on Aug. 6 was criticized by caseworkers, law enforcement and people who advocate on behalf of abused children in court.

Sheila Hogan said Wednesday the agency will work with officials in Livingston to address their concerns about the closure.

Hogan says child protection workers in Billings have an average caseload of 60 children and Yellowstone County received 785 new reports of child abuse or neglect in the past five months.

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