The Indiana Department of Child Services released a child fatality report Tuesday, revealing fewer children died in the 2010 fiscal year from abuse or neglect in Indiana.
James Payne, director of the Indiana DCS, distributed the report in a news conference. The report stated 25 children died from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, which is down from the 38 deaths in the previous fiscal year.
The report revealed 19 of the deaths were a result of abuse and six children died due to neglect. Fifteen of the 19 children who died from abuse were 3-years-old or younger.
Payne said the department continues to develop programs and make improvements.
“Any child death is devastating” stated Payne in a news release statement, “and the Agency continues to review these tragic fatalities to develop programs that educate communities about the danger to our most vulnerable children – those two years old and younger.”
Payne said DCS has added more than 800 caseworkers, in order for families and children in crisis to have more interaction with the caseworker. Additionally, the department said caseworkers have increased monthly visits to children by 96 percent in 2011.
Devin Parsons was one of 25 children who died last year from abuse and neglect. Although he was one of three children who had seen DCS, the 12-year-old was still beaten to death by his mother.
In fact, Devin tried warning DCS workers at least 18 times that he was afraid of his mother.
"He kept saying over and over again ‘mamaw I want to stay with you,’” said his grandmother Jeannie Welsh.
Instead, he died at the hands of his mother a month later.
"She had used a belt at some point, and obviously her fists and she had used her feet, she had kicked him and a tray of some sort,” said Greensburg Police Chief Stacy Chasteen.
Even more shocking, Devin’s case worker, 28-year-old Scott Ogden, was later arrested for allegedly giving a client drugs and trading sex for special favors.
Last week, a bill that would have required more accountability and oversight of DCS died in the house.
"I'm very sad and I'm very tired,” said State Rep. Vanessa Summers. “I need us to start doing things for the children of Indiana.”
However, DCS director James Payne said the department is better than ever.
"I'm proud of the work that's been done,” Payne told reporters Tuesday at a news conference.
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