In its latest fiscal year 2013 report, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services shows the number of victims of child abuse or neglect and fatalities investigated by Child Protective Services, have fallen in Bexar County and statewide.
Statewide figures show the number of fatalities declined from 212 deaths in 2012 to 156 last year.
Bexar County also had a decrease in child deaths from abuse or neglect from 19 in 2012 to ten last year. The number of cases also dropped from 6,205 to 5,846.
“They have declined, but they haven’t declined enough,” said Randy McGibney, director of programs at ChildSafe.
One of 68 child advocacy centers in Texas and the only one in Bexar County, ChildSafe treats many of the victims, McGibney said.
“The numbers are still staggering,” McGibney said. “They’re not going up. We want to continue to see those numbers go down.”
Mary Walker, spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said the reasons for the decline are unknown.
“We don’t know why that is. The numbers fluctuate every year,” Walker said.
She said the agency is grateful to see the lower numbers, “but there’s nothing we can put our finger on.”
But Walker said CPS has seen a disturbing trend.
“What we’re seeing here is the scales tilting in the direction of more neglect,” Walker said.
She said the agency has investigated several cases involving children who drowned or were killed in traffic accidents, as well as a pit bull attack.
“We had an incident where a toddler got a hold of some iron pills and died as a result of that, a classic neglect issue.” Walker said.
Walker and McGibney said anyone who suspects or witnesses cases of child abuse or neglect, are urged to call the CPS hotline 1-800-252-5400.