It doesn't take a genius to understand that more money needs to be allocated toward the battle against child abuse.

Why then does the Indiana Senate's budget proposal reduce the amount of additional money House lawmakers had allocated for Indiana's Department of Child Services?

House lawmakers had approved a $40 million annual increase for DCS. The Senate has scaled that back by 25 percent - $10 million.

The DCS reported Monday that 40 children died of abuse and neglect in 2011. That's up from 25 the year before.

Despite those troubling statistics, some of our leaders want to cut extra funding to the agency charged with protecting our kids.

That doesn't make sense.

Over the past few years, we've seen a gradual dwindling of state funding for children at risk. Locally, a youth shelter has been shuttered. Fewer children are getting the help and mentoring that they need. Too many children live in homes where violence is commonplace.

There must be closer review of child abuse reports made by school or medical personnel, law-enforcement officials or social workers.

That takes money.

Let's hope that extra funding finds its way back into the compromise budget agreement that will be settled on this week.