New pilot program aims at preventing child fatalities

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana State Department of Health is working to reduce serious injuries to children caused by abuse or neglect.

The department partnered with the Indiana University School of Social Work to conduct a pilot program in Clark, Delaware, and Grant counties. The program will work through the local Child Fatality Review teams to identify cases for review.

“It’s vitally important that we do everything we can to protect children,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box. “This grant boosts our efforts to protect Indiana babies and children by helping community partners identify risk factors, improve response systems and ultimately keep more kids safe.”

The initiative will:

  • Engage the local Child Fatality Review teams to examine cases from 2014-18 to understand the risk factors and circumstances that contributed to the tragedies.
  • Conduct a needs assessment to identify areas of opportunity for improved services and response.
  • Recommend plans for intervention for a more coordinated response that can help strengthen services and prevent future incidents.

“If we understand the caregiver stress factors that put children at risk of abuse or neglect, we can take steps to intervene before a life is lost,” said DCS Director Terry Stigdon. “I am encouraged by the opportunity to collaborate with the Indiana State Department of Health to improve outcomes for those we serve.”

The department said in 2018, 65 child fatalities were determined to be a direct result of abuse or neglect. Delaware, Clark and Grant counties have injury deaths among children that are above the state average.

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