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State Health Department Launches Program To Reduce Future Child Fatalities

By Darian Benson, IPB News | Published on in Family Issues, Government, Health

The Indiana State Department of Health is launching a pilot program to review past child fatality cases to prevent future deaths and serious injuries.

ISDH will conduct the program in Clark, Delaware and Grant counties with help from a $750,000 federal grant administered over three years. Through the Child Safety Forward grant, the state will examine cases from a five year period to understand the factors that contributed to child fatalities.

Fatality review and prevention director Gretchen Martin says the goal is to use the data collected from these counties to make changes statewide.

“So, the whole purpose of this is to look at each individual community and then see what can be replicated,” Martin says. “One of the things we hope to do is improve our system’s responses to these tragic events.”

According to a news release, ISDH will collaborate with the Indiana Department of Child Services to identify cases for review.

“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 in the release.

In 2018, 65 child deaths were attributed to abuse or neglect statewide. The three counties selected for the program had rates higher than the state average.

Contact Darian at dbenson@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @helloimdarian.