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Report: Illinois child deaths linked to abuse rises

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A new state report shows the number of Illinois children killed by abuse or neglect over the past year likely will be the state's most in a quarter century.

   The report released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services showed 94 of the 223 deaths investigated during the latest fiscal year that ended June 30 involved credible evidence of abuse or neglect.

   With 45 cases still being investigated and awaiting an official ruling, the number of abuse-related deaths appears likely to surpass the state's previous high of 102 in the 1989 fiscal year.

   Explanations for the latest increase remain elusive.

   But DCFS spokesman Dave Clarkin says the numbers underscore the importance of citizens proactively reporting suspected abuse or neglect before it proves fatal.

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