DFCS Releases 2013 Child Fatality Analysis

August 13, 2014

ATLANTA - Today, the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) released the 2013 Child Fatality Analysis. The 2013 Child Fatality Analysis is the second annual report DFCS has released on deaths of children whose families had contact with the agency during the past five years. The purpose of the report is to aid the agency and the public in improving intervention efforts and developing community-based solutions to reduce the risk of harm to Georgia children.
 
Every child death is heartbreaking. As an agency charged with reducing risk to children we must continually seek ways to work smarter within our agency and the community to create safer futures for Georgiaв children, said Bobby Cagle, Interim DFCS Director.
 
The analysis identifies fatality trends with children highlighting unsafe sleep habits and drug use that interferes with a caretaker ability to care for a child as the leading causes of fatalities, especially amongst young children.
 
Specific findings:
• Safe sleep habits remain a major factor in deaths for children under 1.
•  23 percent of all deaths in 2013 were sleep related.
 • Nearly half (48 percent) of all deaths for children under the age of one were sleep related.
 
• Drug use and its impact on parents ability to care for their children is a critical factor in DFCS involvements that precede child deaths.
• For 43 percent of the child deaths with DFCS history in 2013, 43 percent involved families with prior allegations of substance abuse.
While not all of these deaths were directly attributed to the parent or caretaker drug use, this statistic provides further insight into the risk factors at play in the lives of children whose families come into contact with DFCS.
 
Proactive Efforts Identified for DFCS Include:
• Improve Data Collection and Evaluation to provide a comprehensive analysis of ways to offer assistance to at-risk families.
• Improve care for medically-fragile children with targeted training for case managers and foster parents working with this population of children.
• Strengthen case managers interviewing skills to maximize evidence collection
• Develop predictive analytics to help case managers easily identify risk factors.

To access the 2013 Child Fatality Analysis, visit: http://dhs.georgia.gov/protecting-georgias-most-precious-asset.

 

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