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Annual Report of Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities and Near Fatalities Helps the Community Better Understand Where Kentucky Stands on Preventing These Tragedies

Louisville, KY-The Department for Community Based Services’ (DCBS) Division of Permanency and Protection released its Child Abuse and Neglect Annual Report of Fatalities and Near Fatalities last week. Face It® – a movement led by Kosair Charities to end child abuse and neglect in Jefferson County by 2023 – commends DCBS for producing the report to track Kentucky progress on this critical issue.

The annual report provides information surrounding child deaths and near deaths that were a result of abuse or neglect, including cases where the child had been involved with DCBS prior to the death or near death. The report includes trends surrounding fatalities and near fatalities, risk factors for children who die from abuse, efforts the state is making to prevent these tragedies, and data on the children who died or nearly died from abuse and neglect specific to State Fiscal Year 2014, as well as data from previous years. Face It® appreciates DCBS’ effort to produce the report with a consistent format compared to last year to allow for comparison. Another noted addition to the report is the inclusion of additional detailed information on which numbers from previous years have been updated due to the closure of pending cases.

“As a community, we can and must protect children from dying as a result of abuse and neglect,” said Jerry Ward, chairman of the board at Kosair Charities. “This report provides important information for our partners in Jefferson County to understand the nature of these tragedies and identify solutions for preventing deaths from occurring in the future.”

“DCBS has demonstrated its commitment to improving processes to prevent these child deaths, and the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics appreciates the many opportunities to partner with DCBS  through which we can offer medical expertise on these cases,” Dr. Rabalais. “Through such collaborations – with the University and with experts in other fields – we will achieve the greatest success at addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect.”

The report also includes child fatality and near fatality data for Jefferson County and the other DCBS regions throughout the state. The Jefferson County service region had three identified fatalities and near fatalities for SFY 2014, though the number is likely higher due to pending cases that are not yet resolved.

Changes, such as making the due date of the report later in the year and noting the number of pending cases, would provide more complete information and a better understanding of the data. Though statute requires DCBS to complete the report by September 1 each year, a later due date would mean fewer pending cases, which are currently excluded from the report. Additionally, understanding how many additional cases are pending would provide important context for the reported numbers.

“This report provides important information for understanding child deaths and near deaths due to abuse and neglect,” said Dr. Bill Smithwick, chair of the Face It® policy team. “Some small changes would further strengthen the value of this report for members of the community who are working to implement solutions to prevent these tragic deaths and serious injuries.”


Link to Report: Child Abuse & Neglect Fatality Report