Child Abuse and neglect deaths in the US are generally on the increase, but two states, Texas and Indiana, paint a gloomy picture for the states' resident children according to data released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services, ABC News reported.

According to the report, a total of 1,700 child deaths, caused by maltreatment, were reported in 2016, compared to 1589 the previous year, which translated to a seven percent increase. The data was collected from every state, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and excluding Maine.

The huge countrywide child abuse fatality increase was traced to Indiana and Texas, which reported the highest increase. In Indiana, the figure more than doubled from 34 to 70, while Texas increased from 162 to 217.

Troubled child-welfare agencies

Largely to blame for the rise in child abuse fatalities was due to dysfunctional, under-staffed, under-funded, and a wrangling child-welfare agency in Indiana.

In December for example, problems in Indiana's child-welfare agency became apparent after the director of the Department of Child Services resigned in a huff.

During her resignation, the director, Mary Beth Bonaventura, wrote a scathing letter accusing Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb of management changes and introducing service cuts that placed abused children's lives in more danger.

Ms. Bonaventura claimed in her letter that she opted to resign rather than being complicit in a system which decreased the safety and well-being of children, who had nowhere else to turn to.

In Texas, however, child fatalities have been on an upward trend, despite major high-level management changes and new legislation.

Broken foster care system

In a January ruling, federal judge Janis Graham Jack declared the Texas Foster Care System to be in shambles and required major improvements in the areas of record keeping and foster care placements. In a surprise move, the Texas government appealed the ruling.

The report by the HHS Children's Service bureau released this week, had more shocking revelations; 70 percent of the fatality victims were younger than three years old.

The death rate was higher in boys compared to girls, and African-American children accounted for the highest number of fatalities in comparison to whites and Hispanics.

The report also revealed that parents, acting alone or with other individuals, were responsible for 78 percent of all child abuse deaths.

In 2016, a commission created by Congress, and tasked with looking into increased child neglect fatalities concluded that the US government lacked coherent and effective strategies to reduce the number of child-related deaths.

In addition, the commission also found a data collection discrepancy that suggested the number of child deaths, which the HHS reported to range between 1500-1700 annually, could actually be double the figure.