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Changes being made to reduce child fatalities in Texas

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 8:08pm

Thursday the Senate Health and Human Services Committee met to address the problem of child fatalities in Texas and review the Department of Family and Protective Services' efforts to reduce these fatalities.

The Texas DFPS has come up with child safety plans as well as foster safety plans in an effort to reduce child deaths in Texas.

In 2013 there were 804 child fatalities, the state says 156 were from neglect and abuse. Fifty-nine percent was neglect which includes drowning, unsafe sleep and medical neglect. And 41 percent was from abuse which includes blunt force trauma, stabbing, and suffocation.

Not only are they are looking at causes of death but also caseworker turnover and making sure caseworkers can spot potential problems. That means more training and looking into the environments these children are in at home.

"Red flags" are environments that provide access to a firearm, lack of protective capacity of the caregiver, repeat maltreatment to the child, and inappropriate sleeping arrangements.

DFPS is also proposing changes in foster care including more home visits and required interviews with older children in the home.

Full implementation of these changes is set for May of 2014.

We are all responsible for making sure the children in our state are safe. If you know any child that needs help or wish to report a case of abuse notify law enforcement and call 1 (800) 252-5400.

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