Four Children Dead, More than 1,000 Abuse Cases Expected, How Cameron County Plans to Save Lives

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Four children have died in Cameron County as a result of abuse or neglect in 2016 alone.

The numbers of abuse or neglect cases have gone up dramatically but as negative as it seems, it may be a good thing.

KVEO’s Derick Garcia explains why.

“Any time there’s a fatality it’s a high number” said Anna De La Cruz

The numbers are appalling.

In 2015, three children died in Cameron County, 12 across the Rio Grande Valley.

In 2016, four have died in Cameron County.

“I definitely foresee, just based on the statistics I have received already that we are going to exceed 1000 children and that’s a thousand children where there has actually been an incident of abuse that has been reported to law enforcement or CPS” said Anna De La Cruz

Anna de la Cruz heads Cameron County Children’s Advocacy Center, commonly known as Monica’s and Maggie’s’ house.

She see expects more children to come through her door claiming to be victims of abuse or neglect.

While given the nature of the alleged crimes are terrible, Cruz says the increase number of reported cases is step in the right direction.

“We definitely need to teach these children that whatever occurs whether it’s physical, sexual… any form of abuse is not their fault.” said Anna De La Cruz

Cruz believes the Advocacy Center’s push toward educating the community and children in school about what abuse is, is contributing toward the increase in cases.

 “The hear it again and in the following year and then the following year something’s going to stick” said Anna De La Cruz

For those children who can’t speak out, such as infants, the community must step up because Cruz says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“I would rather that you file that report and keep the child safe because it is going to be your responsibility your guilt if something should happen to that child” said Anna De La Cruz

And for “part time parents” who aren’t providing adequate care…

“It’s not a role that they can say ‘ok I love being a parent today but hmmm not tomorrow’ that is not ok, that is not fair, that is not all right and that is not acceptable.” said Anna De La Cruz

 If you or someone you know is in need of help contact Cameron County Children’s Advocacy Center at (956)361-3313

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