CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A new federal report says West Virginia may have fewer child abuse deaths than its neighbors, but there's still cause for concern.
In fact, the Mountain State has the second-highest per capita death rate from child abuse and neglect in the country.
According to the report by the federal Administration for Children and Families, 16 children died in West Virginia in fiscal year 2005 from neglect or abuse.
Overall, that's lower than all five neighboring states, which ranged from 26 deaths in Virginia to 83 deaths in Ohio. But those states have lower per capita rates because they have more children.
About 21 percent of West Virginians are under 18, compared to 25 percent nationwide.
Experts say another reason for the state's showing is that deaths are tracked in a more comprehensive fashion here than in other states. The state includes in its reports deaths that don't lead to criminal prosecution, but which were caused by neglect. Many states only report those deaths that led to criminal charges.
Child abuse and neglect fatalities in West Virginia and neighboring states in fiscal year 2005, including overall number of deaths and death rate per 100,000 children.
1. West Virginia - 16 deaths - 4.18 deaths per 100,000
2. Kentucky - 29 deaths - 2.96 deaths per 100,000
3. Ohio - 83 deaths - 3.01 deaths per 100,000
4. Pennsylvania - 40 deaths - 1.42 deaths per 100,000
5. Virginia - 26 deaths - 1.42 deaths per 100,000
6. Maryland - 28 deaths - 2.00 deaths per 100,000
Highest nationally: Oklahoma - 41 deaths - 4.80 deaths per 100,000
Lowest nationally: Delaware, Idaho, North Dakota, Vermont - all reported no deaths
* Source: U.S. Administration for Children and Families.
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