Fatalities from child abuse and neglect are the most tragic consequence of child maltreatment. On this page, find information on promising practices and strategies used to help reduce child fatalities from child abuse and neglect along with resources from organizations working on prevention strategies and State and local examples.
Better Child Abuse Fatality Reviews Are Key to Overhauling Child Welfare
Covington & Levinson (2019)
Addresses provisions in the Family First and Prevention Services Act that deal with child abuse and neglect fatalities. The new provisions require States to better document how they compile data on child maltreatment deaths and to share how they plan to implement strategies to prevent them.
Can Strengthening National Data on Child Fatalities Aid in Prevention?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Examines the results of a study that showed issues with child fatality data across jurisdictions, such as inconsistent definitions of maltreatment, missing data, lack of coordination and cooperation, the exclusion of children not previously known to child protective services, and other problems. It describes how increasing coordination, standardization, and information sharing among agencies would result in a better understanding of child fatalities and lead to more effective prevention strategies.
Characteristics, Classification, and Prevention of Child Maltreatment Fatalities
McCarroll, Fisher, Cozza, Robichaux, & Fullerton (2017)
Military Medicine, 182(1-2)
Reviews types of child maltreatment fatalities, risk and protective factors, and prevention strategies based on recent literature. Increased awareness of the problem and improved and expanded fatality reviews are essential for improving prevention in this area.
Child Maltreatment Fatality Reviews: Learning Together to Improve Systems That Protect Children and Prevent Maltreatment (PDF - 6,687 KB)
Covington & Collier (2018)
National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention and Within Our Reach, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
Offers guidance on how to conduct high quality case reviews of child maltreatment fatalities and improve the understanding these reports can bring. The resource offers information on the review process, suggestions for how to improve reviews systematically, and tools to help integrate suggestions within local and State contexts.
Evidence-Based and Promising Interventions for Preventing Child Fatalities and Severe Child Injuries Related to Child Maltreatment (PDF - 1,669 KB)
Summarizes conditions, factors, evidence-based practices, and promising interventions that may help prevent child fatalities due to child maltreatment. The report outlines the scope of the problem, shares lessons from the field of injury control, provides information on surveillance and assessment, and describes interventions and strategies that have been proven to prevent child fatalities from maltreatment.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Seven Strategies to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
Casey Family Programs
Provides a list of strategies that should be implemented to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities. The strategies include modifying the child welfare fatality review process, handling hotline calls differently, encouraging real-time information sharing between law enforcement and child welfare, requiring multidisciplinary teaming on infant cases, engaging primary care physicians, and becoming more data-informed overall.
Report to the Congress Presenting HHS's Response to the Recommendations of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (PDF - 1,203 KB)
U.S. Department of Health Human Services (2016)
Describes improvements to Federal policies and programs related to protecting children from maltreatment that may result in serious injury or death.
Safe Children: Reducing Severe and Fatal Maltreatment (PDF - 1,208 KB)
Barth, Putnam-Homstein, Shaw, & Dickenson (2016)
American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare
Describes strategies for reducing child abuse and neglect fatalities, examines case reviews, and provides targets for improvement.
Steps Forward: Progress Report on National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
Alliance for Strong Families Communities
Identifies actions various government levels are taking to prevent maltreatment fatalities by addressing leadership, research, support for families, and population in need of attention.
Within Our Reach: A National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (2016)
Discusses the elimination of child abuse fatalities within a public health framework with emphasis on community agencies engaging in the identification, testing, and evaluation of strategies to prevent harm to children. Strategies outlined in this report focus on supporting families and equipping communities with preventative tactics.
State and local examples
Child Fatality Prevention
Florida Department of Children and Families (2019)
Presents data organized by year and county, child's age, causal factors, and prior involvement with child welfare with the intention of working to meet the needs within the community and to protect at-risk youth and prevent future deaths. The data are also used to improve child welfare practice and assist at-risk families.
Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System Data and Reports
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Provides counts, rates, and circumstance data on the leading causes of child fatality for all jurisdictions across Colorado and summarizes some of the most frequently requested data available from the system.