Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed making criminal child abuse a felony, saying abusers too often don't go to prison even after disturbing violent crimes.
The governor, among many initiatives proposed for the coming year, says national data show 679,000 children were subject to substantiated maltreatment in 2013.
Each year, he says New York gets about 8,500 cases of alleged abuse by parents or caregivers and the problem is "more alarming than we know."
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, many cases are not reported to police or social services.
Cuomo plans to propose a new felony with a penalty up to seven years in prison for endangering the welfare of a child, currently a misdemeanor.
That would apply to a serious offense by a repeat offender.
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