Annual Child Fatality Review Finds Fewer Deaths, But More Resources Needed

| January 4, 2016

The Arizona Department of Health Services’ Child Fatality Review Team recently released its annual review of child deaths in the state, indicating that while the overall mortality rate in 2014 had dropped from the previous year, there are still too many Arizona children whose lives could have been saved.

In total, 834 Arizona children died last year, most of natural causes (disease, prematurity, etc.). The number of children who died from maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, was 75 in 2014 – down from 92 in 2013. According to the report, 100% of these deaths are preventable.

For the children who died from maltreatment, the analysis shows:

  • 79% of the victims were under the age of 5
  • Substance use or abuse was linked to three quarters of the deaths
  • Blunt force traumas, suffocation, drowning and motor vehicle crashes accounted for 65% of the deaths
  • Fewer than half of all deaths (43%) involved the child’s mother or father
  • 48% of these deaths involved families with prior case histories with a child safety agency (Arizona, Tribal or other state); of these, 11 had open cases

The Team made a number of prevention recommendations, some of which include: providing more funding for child care assistance programs so low-income working parents do not leave children home alone; sufficient resources for the Arizona Department of Child Safety; expanded public awareness programs for families to understand child abuse and neglect laws; substance abuse treatment programs for parents and families; and home visitation services to provide support to at-risk families.

As we head into 2016, Arizona can make a commitment to help families provide their children with a safe, healthy environment to live, learn and grow up.

The full report is available here.

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Category: Advocacy, Child Welfare, Health, Resources

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