The Montana Prevents Child Abuse and Neglect Conference will occur tomorrow (April 19) in Missoula, and many state officials will be in town to discuss the shocking growth of Montana’s Foster Care system.

"The number of kids in foster care has grown dramatically," said Interim Division Administrator for Child and Family Services Bob Runkel. "We have 3,126 children in foster care right now, and, frankly, that is remarkable growth. If you go back to 2011, we had just 1,746 in foster care."

According to Runkel, a rise in meth and other drug use helps to explain much of the growth in foster care need.

"If you look at some of our figures back in 2010, we had 230 kids in care related to meth use, but now we have over 1,000 kids in care due to meth use," Runkel said.

Runkel says that the goal of Child Protective Services is to bring children back to their biological families, but that the rehabilitation time for those on meth is extremely long and helps contribute to the record number of kids in the foster system today.