The number of fatal child abuse and neglect cases dropped in 2021 when compared to the previous years, but the number of deaths in Bexar County remained the same, according to the latest data released by the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services.
The state found 199 children in Texas died of child abuse or neglect in 2021. That number was 251 in 2020.
Andrea Cabrera, a nurse at Methodist Children’s Hospital, is part of the Child Abuse Resource and Education Team or CARE Team. They are called by nurses and doctors to make an assessment when child abuse is suspected in patients. “We do a focused head-to-toe assessment, focusing for signs of non-accidental trauma or neglect. We also do photo documentation of any injuries or anything that we might find suspicious for child abuse or neglect,” she said.
The team also helps train and educate staff on the signs to look for and the questions to ask. She says the job can be difficult at times, but they do it with one goal in mind, to keep children safe.
Her message to parents who are struggling is to walk away. “Parenting can be very frustrating. I know that. But you can leave the child with somebody that they can be safe with and then you can take a break. Take a time out,” she said.
Anyone who knows or suspects child abuse and that a child’s life is in danger should call 9-1-1.