Posted: Oct 22, 2013 11:12 AM
Updated: Oct 22, 2013 11:13 AM
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) The death at the weekend of an 11-month-old foster child near Austin is the fifth in Texas in the handful of weeks since the end of a troubled fiscal year during which four times as many foster children died due to abuse or neglect than in the previous year.
The Department of Child Protective Services has not confirmed that mistreatment resulted in any of the foster deaths in the last few weeks. Three were under suspicious circumstances, and all five are under investigation, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.
The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/17e7WVp ) reported that the agency has confirmed eight foster children died as a result of abuse or neglect in the 2013 fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. In the year prior, two deaths were attributed to mistreatment.
"We're concerned," Crimmins told the newspaper.
Police rushed Orien Hamilton to a hospital Saturday in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park. The girl died Sunday, less than a year since she was removed from her San Antonio home after her mother tested positive for drugs, according to state records.
Investigators said Hamilton had a skull fracture.
Cedar Park police Lt. Darlene Lewis said Jacob Salas, 32, was charged with injury to a child. He was being held without bond Tuesday, and jail records did not indicate whether Salas had an attorney.
Last month, state protective services chief John Specia reacted to the spike in foster children deaths by urging private contractors to look for subtle signs of mistreatment as they visit children in foster homes each month.
About 16,000 children are in foster care in Texas at any given time.
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com