Child neglect deaths skyrocket across Indiana, DCS says

NOW: Child neglect deaths skyrocket across Indiana, DCS says

“I think a lot of times people are relying on another neighbor to do it. We need people to step up to the plate to help,” said Brenda Matuszkiewicz, Executive Director of CASA.

The Department of Child Services recently released its annual report of child fatalities across the state of Indiana and 77 children died as a result of abuse, neglect, or other related causes in 2015.

“The majority of those deaths were involving children three and under,” said Matuszkiewicz.

In 2013, the state saw 49 child deaths due to the same issues. Matuszkiewicz, who advocates for abused or neglected children, says the numbers only continue to skyrocket.

“Any death of a child is too many. So many factors lead back to why those deaths occurred. Substance abuse, they may have been under the influence, the child was neglected and they were injured,” said Matuszkiewicz.

In July of this year alone, St. Joseph County saw 154 proven cases of child neglect. Elkhart County saw another 33, and Kosciusko County saw 13.

Matuszkiewicz says these numbers are a result of parents’ failure to care for the child.

“The very young who cannot speak for themselves, and the number one person that should be their protector, for whatever reason, is unable to or unwilling to,” said Matuszkiewicz.

But that the lack of service providers could play a major role in the numbers as well.

“We’re service poor in so many of our communities right now,” said Matuszkiewicz.

And until those services are met, they’re counting on you to step up.

“If you see something say something. If you suspect, you have a duty to report that,” said Matuszkiewicz.

If you’d like to view all counties’ DCS assessment decisions summary by child in July 2017, click here.

To view previous years, click here.

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