(NEWSER) – At least 786 American children died of abuse or neglect in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities—many of the children beaten, starved, or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, the AP has found. To determine that number, the AP canvassed the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and branches of the military. Many states struggled to provide numbers; secrecy often prevailed.
Most of the children whose cases were compiled by the AP were under the age of 4. They lost their lives even as authorities were investigating their families or providing some form of protective services because of previous instances of neglect, violence, or other troubles in the home. The number of abuse and neglect fatalities where a prior open case existed at the time of death is undoubtedly much higher than the tally of 760.