Annual fatality report shows increase in neglect, drownings

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INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2015) - Troubling new statistics show a sharp increase in neglect involving Indiana children.

The latest report from the Department of Child Services shows an 84 percent increase in neglect-related deaths, from fiscal years 2012 to 2013.

Officials say that's because they've been able to document more cases of neglect involving drowning- and parents not properly supervising their kids.

And it's a warning every parent needs to hear, especially as pools open for the summer this weekend.

“The message has to be that if you’re going to have children that are small, infants, toddlers in the water, that they should always have life jackets or water wings,” said DCS director Mary Beth Bonaventura. “Just that fast a child could get away from you and drown.”

This sharp increase is largely due to the way DCS is documenting these drownings, but they say they felt it was important to include those statistics, to serve as a warning to other parents in the future.

The annual fatality report, posted on the DCS web site, also noted 14 abuse related deaths in 2013.

“We’re always alarmed by people that leave their children with people they really don’t know, a new boyfriend, a lot of abuse, a lot of the deaths have occurred by the boyfriend of the mother,” said Bonaventura. “Often times, they leave their kids (with them) while they go to work.”