HOUSTON – Child safety advocates expressed concern Friday that incidents of child abuse and neglect are up statewide, despite what they say has been a lack of data due to the pandemic.
That’s because most reports to child protective services are primarily made by teachers and others within school systems, which have seen in-school attendance hit hard by COVID-19 safeguards.
“Inevitably, a lot of these cases, you know, a teacher or a counselor, or a next-door neighbor has seen something or reported it,” said Dr. Robert Sanborn, the president and CEO of Children at Risk.
However, Sanborn stressed much of that isn’t happening because of the pandemic and the concern comes as the number of child deaths from abuse and neglect has increased, as KPRC 2 Investigates has reported.
According to a new report from the Department of Family and Protective Services on child maltreatment fatalities and near fatalities, more children are dying from neglect and abuse, at least in terms of cases the state investigated.
“2020 has been a very difficult year for children and families across Texas,” said Kathryn Sibley of DFPS.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services report concluded, in the fiscal year 2020, 251 children died due to abuse and neglect in Texas — in 218 of those cases there was no prior CPS investigation into allegations of abuse.
Several recent child deaths are in line with that theme, including the death of Jason Sanchez-Marks, 6. The boy’s mother, Ashley Marks, has been charged with capital murder in connection with his death.
Prosecutors allege Marks drugged her son with toxic levels of NyQuil, along with Methamphetamine and cocaine.