DCS: Report shows ‘stresses’ led to child-abuse deaths

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) – For the fiscal year of 2012, DCS said there were 295 child deaths in the state varying from gunshot wounds and drownings to physical abuse and neglect. The latest data report shows stress factors led to child-abuse deaths.

The Indiana Department of Child Services released the state’s latest child-fatality data this week. The report revealed a pattern of children one year or younger, who died as a result of abuse or neglect. Officials said it’s a trend that has continued year to year.

“One child fatality is too many,” Mary Beth Bonaventura, Indiana Department of Child Services director, told News 18 in a release. “We take this report very seriously, and will use it to help us continue to improve our services to Hoosier children and families.

Bonaventura said it’s multiple stress factors that lead to child fatalities. She said it’s something they are looking to address.

In addition, the report lists that 34 out of the 295 child deaths were a direct result from abuse or neglect. Among those 34 children, the data revealed a pattern of one or more “stress factors” — such as unemployment, low income, substance abuse or domestic violence — to be found in most of the cases.

According to the report, more than 60 percent of cases involving neglect or abuse occur to children one year of age or younger.

“Our infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable of all our children,” said Bonaventura. “And smaller children take a lot of supervision, care and patience — which may be difficult to give if someone has low or poor parenting skills, or is dealing with multiple stress factors.”

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 800-800-5556.

To view the full copy of the SFY 2012 fatality report, click here.

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