Indiana ranks second in the nation for the rate of child abuse victims, according to an annual report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The report says 18.6 in every 1,000 Hoosier children were victims of abuse in fiscal year 2017.
That’s more than double the national average. And it’s second only to neighboring Kentucky, where 22.2 in 1,000 children were abused that year.
Indiana also ranks fifth in the nation for the rate of child abuse and neglect deaths. Seventy-eight children died in fiscal year 2017, more than double the number two years before.
Indiana Department of Child Services response time has gone down by more than a day since 2014. The report says DCS responds to a tip within about three days, which is on par with the national average.
Drug abuse was a risk factor in about a quarter of Indiana abuse and neglect cases in 2017. That’s a 30 percent increase in three years.
DCS is asking lawmakers for nearly $300 million more for their annual budget. State leaders have shifted dollars over the last couple of years to meet a huge uptick in cases.