Texas Still Behind in Efforts to Stop Child Abuse

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A newspaper investigation reveals that Texas remains woefully behind the times when it comes to reducing child abuse by emphasizing prevention programs.

Child advocates are emphasizing prevention to help curb child abuse problems in Texas. But lawmakers cut funding for such programs by 26 percent.

The San Antonio Express-News says the state's Child Protective Services agency will spend about one percent of its $913 million budget on prevention. That's according to an analysis by Madeline McClure, director of Tex Protects, the advocacy division of Prevent Child Abuse Texas.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths attributed to abuse or neglect continues to rise. Last fiscal year, a record 227 children died statewide.

Texas nonprofits and advocacy groups are trying to take up the slack.

San Antonio is home to the Children's Shelter, a place devoted to victims of abuse or neglect. It also has the Center for Miracles and Child Safe, which recently got a $1 million grant to use for prevention programs.

Another program, Healthy Families, tries to pre-empt abuse by intervening with at-risk mothers. About 90 women are counseled every year, with a "parent educator" assigned to visit each one at least once a week.