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We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America

March 22, 2011 Comments off

We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America (PDF)
Source: Every Child Matters Education Fund

This is the second edition of “We Can Do Better-Child Abuse Deaths in America.” The first edition was published in 2009. Since then, much work has been done to increase public awareness of child fatalities and to enlist the federal government in elevating the issue.

In October, 2009, the release of the report reached millions of citizens because of extensive press coverage. The release was followed by a ‘Summit to End Child Abuse Deaths in America’, which brought 150 child abuse experts from around the country to Washington, D.C. for three days of educational sessions and discussions. The Summit attendees made many recommendations for ending child abuse and neglect deaths. They can be found at http://www.everychildmatters.org.

In January 2010, five national organizations joined forces to address the issue of child abuse fatalities. The partnership, the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, includes the National Association of Social Workers, the National Children’s Alliance, the National Center for Child Death Review and the National District Attorneys Association, along with the Every Child Matters Education Fund. The coalition will soon announce an ambitious strategy for generating the attention that some 2,500 deaths of children a year at the hands of their family members deserves.

In April 2010, the new coalition conducted an educational briefing on child abuse and neglect for Congressional staff at the Capitol. In a major development, the Government Accountability Office, in May of 2010, began a study of child abuse fatalities associated with the child welfare system. Members of the coalition have met with GAO staff. The coalition also has met with the commissioner of the federal Administration on Children and Families to voice its concerns and offer its assistance.

Additionally, a petition campaign has been initiated requesting Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid to sponsor Congressional hearings on child abuse fatalities.

Much more must be done. The rate of child abuse fatalities continues to rise. The official number for 2008 was 1,740, nearly double the combined number of five other more publicized causes of death, as can be seen in this chart.

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