The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released troubling new statistics showing child abuse-related deaths are on the rise across the nation. Texas saw the biggest increase, recording a spike of roughly 30 percent.
About the Child Abuse Fatalities in Texas
According the new study, Texas led the nation in child abuse-related deaths for the 2016 fiscal year with 217 child fatalities being attributed to abuse and neglect. This is up from 162 deaths the previous year.
Experts are struggling to understand the reasons behind the increases and have a few theories. According to TexProtects, a nonprofit focused on reducing child abuse, increasing caseloads for CPS employees may be preventing abused children from getting the services they need.
Another possible factor is the growing opioid crisis. According to Dimple Patel, associate director of Public Policy for TexProtects, 51 percent of child abuse-related fatalities recorded in Texas involved a caregiver who was either actively using or under the influence of drugs at the time of the child’s death.
While the causes are still subject to speculation, experts agree that early intervention for families where drug abuse is occurring and expanding services for families where abuse and neglect has already occurred are essential in curbing the problem.
National Child Abuse Statistics
The following information was provided by ABC News:
A total of 1,700 fatalities were attributed to child maltreatment in fiscal year 2016, a 7-percent increase from 1,589 the previous year.
The largest increases in child abuse-related fatalities were in Texas, where fatalities jumped from 162 to 217, and Indiana, where fatalities doubled from 34 to 70.
A commission created by Congress two years ago concluded that the U.S. lacks a coherent and effective strategy for recorded and reducing child abuse-related deaths. While annual deaths reported by the Department of Health and Human Services tend hover in the range of 1,500 to 1,600 per year, the commission suggested the true number of annual deaths may be as high as 3,000.
An estimated 70 percent of children killed in child abuse cases were under the age of 3.
It is estimated that 676,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2016.
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney
If you believe your child has suffered from physical or sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys immediately. We have the knowledge and experience to handle your child’s case. We will also take immediate action to prevent any further mistreatment.