The Department for Community Based Services’ annual report on child fatalities and near fatalities due to abuse and neglect was released last month. This report is mandated by law and provides information on the fatalities and near fatalities due to the maltreatment of children under the age of 18 in Kentucky. The report details data on fatalities and near fatalities and discusses demographic information as well as perpetrator information and risk factors present in the home.
The report highlights an unfortunate trend that has persisted over the past many years; our youngest children are our most vulnerable. Children ages 4 and under made up 85 percent of the deaths and near deaths due to maltreatment. These deaths and near deaths are 100 percent preventable.
In the report, a large majority of the child victims’ cases were still pending—of the 139 cases, 124 were still pending. However, the report includes data from 2015-2019 which provides a fuller picture of overall trends and data.
What we do know—even though this information is overwhelming—is that we all have a role in preventing abuse and neglect and the sometimes fatal consequences of that.
While recommendations were made and changes to the child welfare system are necessary, some of which are in progress, there are things we can do in our day-to-day lives to ensure that DCBS is not only working to keep kids safer, but that our communities are playing their part as well.
Ways to act:
- Learn the warning signs of abuse and neglect from the Kosair Charities Face It Movement and make the report to Child Protective Services (1-877-KYSAFE1), if you suspect abuse or neglect.
- Attend trainings, like the Face It Movement’s Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma recognition and prevention training coming up Friday, October 4th, to be equipped with tools and knowledge needed to keep kids safe.
- Share information about activities and events in your area to get youth and their families engaged in their community—this helps to reduce isolation.
- Check in with parents and caregivers you know or live near to see if they could use help or someone to talk to—parents need to know they are not alone.
- Talk to your local and state elected officials about prioritizing services and funding to help keep kids safe.