Report: Pattern of significant stress factors in Indiana child fatalities

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email

INDIANAPOLIS On Friday, the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) released the state’s latest child-fatality data.

DCS reviewed 295 child deaths from state-fiscal year 2012, varying in causes ranging from gunshot wounds, to drownings, to physical abuse and neglect.

In addition, a report was compiled specifically regarding 34 child deaths directly resulting from abuse or neglect.

DCS had prior history with seven of the children.

Among the children that died from abuse or neglect, a pattern of one or more significant stress factors were found in many cases, such as unemployment, low income, substance abuse, or domestic violence. In some cases, multiple stress factors were present in a single home.

The report also shows a pattern of children one year or younger, who died as a result of abuse or neglect, which is a trend that has continued year to year.

“One child fatality is too many,” said Mary Beth Bonaventura, director, Indiana Department of Child Services. “We take this report very seriously, and will use it to help us continue to improve our services to Hoosier children and families. The multiple stress factors that lead to child fatalities are something we will look to address through collaboration with our community based partners.”

Of the children who died from abuse, 60 percent were one year of age or younger. Of the neglect deaths, 63 percent of the children were one year of age or younger as well.

“Our infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable of all our children,” said Bonaventura. “And smaller children take a lot of supervision, care and patience—which may be difficult to give if someone has low or poor parenting skills, or is dealing with multiple stress factors.”

Bonaventura added this is an issue that DCS cannot handle alone, and reminds all Hoosiers to call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 800.800.5556, if they suspect any child is being abused or neglected.

A copy of the full SFY 2012 fatality report specific to child abuse and neglect can be found at: http://www.in.gov/dcs/3197.htm.


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