RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Advocacy groups examining how effective state statutes and regulations are in preventing child abuse and neglect are giving Virginia a B- for its public-disclosure laws.
The Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego and a nonprofit called First Star are issuing state-by-state assessments Tuesday.
About 1,770 children died from abuse last year nationwide, yet many states' laws shield information from the public about child-abuse cases. The groups say that the lack of transparency allows flaws in state child-protection systems to go uncorrected.
Virginia earned high marks for its 2009 policy requiring mandatory public disclosure of information about abuse cases that result in a child's fatality or near fatality. But the state gets low marks for closing child abuse and neglect court proceedings to the public.
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