​Hundreds of child abuse and neglect deaths hushed up in Texas

​Hundreds of child abuse and neglect deaths hushed up in Texas (RT, Jan 12, 2015):

Over the last five years Texas’ Child Protective Services underreported 655 deaths of children from abuse or neglect by their parents, said the Austin American-Statesman. Caseworkers used loopholes to omit cases of indirect maltreatment.

In an investigative report published on Sunday, Austin American-Statesman claims that practically half of the underreported deaths happened in problem families, which had frequently been investigated for child abuse.

Over a quarter of families (144 of them) where a child died had been investigated by the CPS at least 3 times. In one case, the CPS had contacted a family more than 20 times, but still the child in this family died.

Having analyzed nearly 300 child homicides and suspected homicides, the newspaper reported that most of the children’s deaths were the result of beatings or strangulation. One child homicide case out of five remains unsolved, while some cases are “unaccountably dragged out for years,” the investigative report claims.

Sometimes a family simply falls off CPS radar, and this can have deadly consequences. According to the American-Statesman investigative report, 15 children died between 2009 and 2014, after the state agency lost track of their families.

Patrick Crimmins, spokesman for the Family and Protective Services, stated the agency has always complied with state and federal laws and is not trying to hide any information.

The child fatalities missing from official statistics took place between 2010 and 2014. This was possible because of a law adopted in 2009, obliging Family and Protective Services’ caseworkers to publicly report any maltreatment that led to a child death. But the law has a loophole: it doesn’t require reporting a child’s death when abuse did not contribute to death directly.

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