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DCS Releases Child Fatality Report for State Fiscal Year 2017

The latest Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) child fatality data highlights the need for more caregiver education on water safety and safe-sleep practices.

The child fatality report reviewed 314 child deaths from state fiscal year 2017. Causes of death varied by county, but among the most prevalent neglect-related cases were those related to children being left unattended near water or a caregiver’s failure to provide safe sleeping arrangements.

Each year, the DCS annual child fatality report allows child-welfare experts to analyze what most endangers Hoosier children. This year’s report details 65 child deaths directly resulting from abuse or neglect, up slightly from 59 in SFY 2016.

The child fatality report, which contains basic demographic information about victims and perpetrators alike, helps inform state programs and policies by showing trends among Hoosier populations.

DCS and the Indiana State Department of Health work together to promote best practices for keeping children safe while sleeping. Experts encourage parents and caregivers to remember the ABCs: Children should sleep alone, on their back, in a crib. Learn more about safe sleep practices here.

Lack of supervision often causes neglect-related deaths, especially in the case of drownings. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds caregivers a child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water and should never be left unattended in the bathtub or near a body of water, even for a few minutes. More safety tips can be found here.

A copy of the full SFY 2017 fatality report specific to child abuse and neglect can be found here.