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New federal data: Child abuse declines for 5th straight year; abuse deaths at 5-year low

New federal statistics show that reports of child abuse and neglect have dropped nationwide for the fifth consecutive year, and abuse-related child fatalities also are at a five-year low.

The latest annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there were 681,000 cases of child abuse or neglect across the nation in the 2011 fiscal year. That's down from 723,000 in 2007.

The number of abuse-related fatalities was estimated at 1,570 — down from 1,720 in 2007. About fourfifths of those killed were younger than 4, and parents were deemed responsible for nearly four-fifths of the deaths.

Texas had the most fatalities, with 246, followed by Florida with 133.

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