Child abuse and neglect cases up across Vermont

The number of child abuse and neglect cases reached a new statewide high in the last fiscal year, according to statistics released last week from Vermont’s court system. But the most startling increase was in Franklin County.

The number of child abuse or neglect petitions filed in court in Franklin County jumped from 93 in fiscal year 2017 to 166 in 2018.

In all, the state filed 1,096 petitions alleging that parents or guardians had neglected or abused their children in 2018. The total has steadily trended upward for years — 2018’s count is a 60 percent increase from 2012, and the highest number in recent years.

Chittenden County had the highest number of child abuse and neglect cases in the state, with 219 initiated in fiscal 2018. Franklin County, which has a population a third of its neighbor to the south, ranked second. (Bennington County rose slightly, from 80 cases to 81.)

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