New data: child abuse deaths rise, notably in Texas, Indiana

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Washington, UNITED STATES: The US Department of Health and Human Services building is shown in Washington, DC, 21 July 2007. The department, which began operations in 1980, has more than 67,000 employees. AFP PHOTO/Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – Newly released federal figures show a sharp rise in child abuse fatalities in the U.S., with the bulk of the increase occurring in two states, Indiana and Texas, where child-welfare agencies have been in disarray.

According to a report released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,700 fatalities resulting from child maltreatment reported in fiscal year 2016, compared to 1,589 the previous year – a 7 percent increase.

Fatalities in Texas jumped from 162 to 217. In Indiana, the death toll more than doubled from 34 to 70.

Juvenile Judge Marilyn A. Moores says her Indianapolis courtroom has seen a surge in child welfare cases due to the opioid epidemic.

She says that has overwhelmed the state’s child welfare agency.