Indiana child deaths surge in first year of hotline

Published: .
Updated: .

The number of Indiana children who died from abuse or neglect surged during the first year of a statewide hotline to report such cases, and officials from the Department of Child Services say many of the deaths involved social issues that the department can't control.

An annual report shows there were 40 deaths from abuse or neglect in 2011. That's up from 25 the previous year.

DCS had no involvement with the victims or their families in at least half of the cases.

New DCS director Mary Beth Bonaventura tells The Associated Press a number of the deaths involved issues like morality and addictive personalities that government can't control. She says DCS can't tackle the problem alone.

Nearly half of the deaths from abuse involved children under a year old.

Partners often at fault

An annual report on deaths of Indiana children from abuse and neglect shows that many of those killed in 2011 died at the hands of a parent's boyfriend or girlfriend.

The report released Monday by the Department of Child Services found that 25 percent of the 40 deaths reported that year were caused by a parent's "intimate partner." That's lower than in 2010, when more than half of the 25 deaths were caused by a partner.

DCS officials say drug abuse, domestic violence and low incomes contributed to the 2011 totals. Officials say the agency had a prior history with the child killed in only six of the 40 cases.

Bonaventura says state officials need to learn from the report and do a better job.

View the DCS report

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)