Texas High Risk Child Abuse Areas Now Tracked By Zip Code

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NORTH TEXAS (KRLD) – A new tool in the fight against child abuse pinpoints the highest risk areas in North Texas — down to the zip code.

The interactive map was developed by TexProtects, a group that speaks for abused and neglected children in the state. Alliance Data Systems, a Plano-based company, and engineering and computer students at the University of Texas at Dallas also worked on the project.

“Our map looks at child abuse risk at a zip code level, which has never been done before,” says Sophie Phillips, COO of TexProtects. “Data often isn’t available at that level.”

The map considers factors like teen birth, child poverty, and previous child abuse cases to zoom in on troubled neighborhoods. Before the new map, the closest data on child abuse risk was found at the county level.

♦♦♦ Click Here To Check Out The Interactive Map ♦♦♦
(scroll over the map and click on individual counties to get specific information)

“Big cities like Dallas may not seem high risk since areas in those communities are really wealthy,” Phillips says. “It masks the true poverty. We decided we needed to take a closer look, and zoom in further.”

In North Texas, many of the highest risk zip codes are found in South Dallas. Phillips explained, “We know that in South Dallas, there aren’t many services that help in child abuse prevention. So the map helps us isolate these areas, get funds and programs into these communities.”

Phillips says her hope for TexProtect’s new map is that the state government will use it to see where the highest risk zip codes are. With that knowledge, they’ll know where to direct funds for child abuse prevention so that they’ll make the most difference.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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