Midland Child Abuse Lawyers
The state of Texas defines child abuse as physical, mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in a child’s growth, development, psychological functioning, or physical well-being. As you can well imagine, child abuse can take many forms including physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse.
- Physical abuse is physical aggression that is directed at a child by an adult resulting in physical injury such as bruising, scratching, lacerations, burns or broken bones.
- Emotional or psychological abuse is psychologically abnormal behavior that is aimed at a child that may include harsh criticism, denigration, insult, coarse or rude attitudes, yelling, humiliation, destruction of personal property, or the torture or killing of a family pet.
- Neglect is the failure of the parent or caretaker to provide for basic necessities such as food, shelter, medical care, clothing or adequate supervision to the degree that a child’s health or safety is threatened with harm. Neglect is also defined as lack of attention or lack of love and nurturing.
- Sexual abuse occurs when a sexual act with a child is intended for physical gratification or financial profit of another, or a child is abused for sexual stimulation or urged or pressured into engaging in some form of sexual act. Indecent exposure, exposure to pornography or any other form of viewing or sexual contact with the child or their genitalia is sexual abuse.
Sadly, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds while five children die every day from abuse or neglect in the United States.
Texas is Doing a Poor Job of Protecting Children
Child abuse and neglect are epidemic in the state of Texas. In fact, Texas leads the nation in child abuse and neglect deaths. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reported 231 child deaths in 2011 alone and that number is expected to continue to grow due to continuing budget cuts. The 2010-2011 budgets saw a cut of $27.4 million to prevention and early intervention programs with an additional 43% cut in the 2012-2013 budgets. Child abuse and deaths are so high in Texas that they rank even higher than California where the child population is much higher. This ranking can be traced directly to the amount budgeted for prevention and intervention programs; California ranks fifth in the nation for total money spent per capita on child welfare, while Texas ranks forty-third. Is it any wonder that child abuse and neglect are epidemic in our state?
The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, or TexProtects, is a Texas organization that seeks to prevent child abuse by speaking out for the children. TexProtects decries the fact that child abuse largely goes unnoticed by the general public in Texas. Executive director, Madeline McClure, notes that 30 children were killed in Dallas County in 2012 in unrelated abuse cases. She states that there was little public fanfare over these deaths, but had 30 children been killed in a school shooting there would have been a “huge outcry” on behalf of these children.
Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, reporting your suspicions to state officials can save a child and provide help to a family in crisis. You can contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at (800) 252-5400. To seek legal action on behalf of an injured child, call our child injury lawyers today at 800-863-5312 for a free consultation.