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Child Maltreatment Deaths in the U.S. National Child Death Review Case Reporting System

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 25-36
Vincent J. Palusci; Theresa M. Covington
Date Published
January 2014
12 pages
This study reviewed child-death cases from 2005 to 2009 in the U.S. National Child Death Review Case Reporting System in order to compare child and offender characteristics and link them to actions taken or recommended by the team that reviewed the case.
The study found that among the 49,947 child deaths reviewed from 23 States between 2005 and 2009, 2,285 cases involved child maltreatment as a direct or contributing factor. Just over one-half identified neglect as the maltreatment involved in the child's death, and 30 percent had head trauma attributed to physical abuse. Retinal hemorrhages were diagnosed in approximately 85 percent of shaken infants. The mean age for victims of child maltreatment was 2.5 years old. Sixty percent were male, and 43.6 percent were White. Blacks (28.1 percent) and Hispanics (16.6 percent) composed the next largest groups. Many of the victims were receiving Medicaid, with neglect victims being more likely to be recipients. Small numbers were homeless or living in overcrowded conditions. One in six of the victims had a disabling illness. One in three had prior maltreatment, one quarter of whom had prior foster care. Child death review teams recommended and/or planned several activities in their communities designed to prevent child deaths. They implemented 109 actions or strategies after their reviews. The authors advise that the National Child Death Review Case Reporting System contains information on child deaths that provides important insights for prevention. 8 tables and 62 references