The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has published their Fiscal Year 2020 report on child fatalities. This report is a difficult read each year, but it’s important information to have as we continue to advocate for a brighter Texas, a safer system, and better support for the children and families we serve.
In FY 2020, there were more than 7.5 million children in Texas, and 826 investigations by DFPS into child fatalities—the most since 2012, but down from an all-time high in 2010.
- 251 children died by abuse and neglect, and in a majority of these instances there was no CPS investigation or ongoing services stage open at that time—therefore, no regular monitoring of the family that could have protected the child.
- Most of this year’s increase stemmed from neglectful supervision, including situations of drowning and unsafe sleeping.
- Of the children who died from abuse or neglect in 2020:
- 80% were 3 years old or younger.
- Children who died were more often male, and more often not enrolled in school or day-care.
- There was also an increase in fatalities of children over age 10.
- Hispanic children had the highest overall number of fatalities (81, or 2.18% per capita). However, a disproportionate number were African American children (67, or 7.65% per capita).
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the preventative measures families and the general community can take to better protect children was discussed, as many of the child deaths in FY 2020 were deemed preventable, including eight children who died after being left in hot cars, as well as eight teenagers who died by suicide.
The full report, including what communities can do to help protect children, can be found below.