Social Services

Report shows drugs and alcohol significant factor in 2017 child abuse and neglect fatalities

Texas Tribune reports that drugs or alcohol contributed to half of child abuse and neglect deaths in Texas last year, as shown in recently released annual findings from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

While the number of child abuse and neglect-related fatalities decreased 22.5 percent from 2016, drugs and alcohol still play a significant role in the over 200 deaths that did occur in 2017.

The Texas Tribune story highlights Family Compass, a North Texas nonprofit that serves families who have been referred by CPS. A staff member for the organization told the publication that she and her colleagues often have trouble convincing parents or caregivers that drugs and alcohol are a problem that can impede their abilities to care for their children.

The TDFPS report shows that marijuana is recorded as the most-used substance in parents and caregivers of children who died as a result of abuse or neglect in Texas in 2017. Following marijuana was alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamines, or a combination of drugs and/or alcohol.

Unsafe sleeping, blunt-force trauma, and vehicle-related accidents were the top causes of child abuse and neglect fatalities, respectively.


Founded in 1992, Family Compass is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building healthy families and a strong North Texas Community by preventing child abuse and neglect. Find out more on the organization’s website. publishes every week.
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