New study aims to find the root of child abuse, neglect crisis in Bexar County

Experts are trying to find the exact root cause of large child abuse, neglect cases in the area

Experts are trying to find the exact root cause of large child abuse, neglect cases in the area.

SAN ANTONIO – Monica Lawson, assistant professor with the University of Texas at San Antonio, says sometimes it takes looking at a problem through data to find a solution.

That’s the idea behind a study she says will help lead to discovering the reasons why Bexar County has so many confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect every year when compared to other parts of the state.

“It’s a huge public health crisis here in San Antonio. And we know that we know that every year approximately five to six thousand children are abused and neglected in Bexar County,” Lawson said.

Bexar County child abuse prevention advocates know the data, but say that they still don’t have a definitive reason for the number of cases in the area to be so large.

The research by Lawson’s team will be conducted thanks in part to a $5,000 grant from the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science was awarded to UTSA, UT Health San Antonio and Child Safe.

According to Lawson, the research will include interviews with advocates and families in the child welfare system. It will take about a year to get the answers that the team needs.

Anecdotally, Lawson says poverty, low education level, teen pregnancy, domestic violence and a lack of corporate jobs all play a role in child abuse in a community.

However, she says, the study will look to find specific trends in Bexar County.

KSAT will host a town hall at 2 p.m. on April 28 on to discuss child abuse and neglect during the pandemic.

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.