Category Archives: Infants and Toddlers

Commission on Child Deaths Goes to Florida

The Commission To Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities conducted a second field hearing last Thursday, July 10 when they went to Tampa Florida. The Commission heard from both Florida officials as well as national experts. Panelists included Interim Secretary Mike Carroll, Florida Department of Children and Families, Dr. Celeste Philip, Florida Department of Health, Richard Barth, University of Maryland, and Howard Davidson, of the American Bar Association among several others. The topics included child protective services involvement with child deaths, using child welfare administrative data to protect vulnerable children, the use of predictive analytics and the issue of confidentiality.

Much of the discussion focused on what data and research tells us about the most likely cases of child fatalities and strategies that might be built into prevention efforts based on that information. The afternoon focused on some of the challenges the state of Florida has experienced with rising numbers of child deaths and how different Florida communities are implementing different practices resulting in more effective results. Emily Putnam-Hornstein, PhD, Children’s Data Network, University of Southern California, provided an overview of child protection and child fatalities data. Her presentation indicated that annual estimates of children reported for abuse and neglect understate how many children are involved with child protection over time and that what we think of as a relatively rare event is much more common than has been indicated. Citing recent studies, she said that while one in 100 US children are substantiated annually as being victims of child abuse, one in eight children (12.5%) have been confirmed as a victim by age 18. The prevalence for black children is 20.9%. She also indicated that after adjusting for other risk factors at birth, a previous report to CPS (regardless of disposition) emerged as the strongest predictor of injury or death during a child’s first five years of life.

That and other similar comments set the stage for a series of witnesses who discussed data-driven strategies that could assist in pinpointing the greatest risks. Certain characteristics are more likely to be present in child fatalities, characteristics such as the presence of substance abuse, the presence of a “paramour” or an unrelated adult in the family and other common factors such as water-related and sleeping-related deaths are more likely to be found in these cases. The data discussions include ways to match child welfare related data such as NDACAN (National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect) and the foster care SACWIS (Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System) as well as health and birth related data. There was also a great deal of discussion regarding the use of predictive analytics—a methodology that is becoming a buzz word within the human services field—that attempts to use statistical data and mining of the information to determine the most effective policies and strategies.

A significant part of the Commission time was devoted to the state of Florida and the differences in child deaths between jurisdictions and what different practices within the state might be effecting why some areas are more successful than other areas in preventing child deaths. In March the, Miami Herald ran an extensive report: Innocents Lost which highlighted the increasing numbers of child deaths, particularly those children that had previously been know to the child protection and child welfare system.

Last month the Commission held a hearing in the state of Texas, the state with the highest number of child fatalities in each of the last five years according to NCANDS data. Florida has had the second highest number of child deaths for four of the past five years. The five states with the highest rates of child deaths per 100,000 children in 2012 were: New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, and Florida.

The next and third field hearing scheduled for the Commission is scheduled for August 28 in Detroit, MI.
To obtain more information about the Commission go to its website which has a link for submitting comments, the latest news reports on child deaths within states, event schedules and other information on the Commission and its actions.

Briefing Focuses on Military Families With Infants and Toddlers

The Congressional Baby Caucus celebrated its 5th birthday with a briefing on veterans and families. The briefing was a follow up to the Caucus’s initial briefing five years ago which also focused on military families with young children. The briefing included a panel of three that included one program expert and two veterans to reflect on the current challenges of military families, especially those transitioning out of the military. Panelists included Katherine Rosenblum, Ph.D., Director, STRoNG Military Families Program, Melissa Hudson,, Veteran Parent, Brian Pate, Lieutenant Colonel USMCR.

The gathering also heard remarks from caucus co-chairs Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA). DeLauro highlighted a number of statistics in her remarks including, 42% of children of Active-Duty members are under the age of five, Active-Duty, Guard and Reserve families together have approximately 363,000 children under the age of three. She also outlined the general concerns that deployment itself created certain stress within the population and how that may be compounded if a veteran comes back with injuries and other challenges such as PTSD. She hopes to focus Congress’s attention on ways to look at policy in a way that might benefit these families and singled out potential changes to the child tax credit as a possible target for improvements.

Dr. Rosenberg talked about some projects through the University of Michigan that are targeted to service members, and veterans. In the coming years an average of 250,000 Active-Duty members will be transitioning out of service. She provided data from the state of Illinois that showed that this population of veteran families had an unemployment rate of around 13%, 7% were living below the poverty rate, and they tended to have younger children.

Brian Pate discussed his personal experience during deployment and highlighted four areas that need addressing: family-readiness when a member is ready to deploy, communication while on assignment in an effort to help keep families connected while away, post-deployment services that prepare the returning soldier with the family—particularly programs that prepare you for reunification with infants and toddlers, and understanding how past service continues to have an impact.

He also highlighted a need that is often overlooked, that services are lost to the family once a soldier transfers from active duty to veteran status. The veteran may have some limited services including health care but his or her family may lose many critical services including access to health care.

Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities to Hold Public Meeting in Tampa, Florida

Here is the Latest:

The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), a federal advisory committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (P. L. 112-275), will hold there next meeting next week.If youwant to participate register now!

Meeting time: Thursday, July 10, 2014, from 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT.
Location: Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, 1002 East Palm Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605.

Interested members of the public may listen by calling 1-866-928-2008, and entering passcode 556476.

To attend in person or listen to the teleconference, please register by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 3, 2014:

Meeting agenda: The purpose of this meeting is for Commission members to gather information to better understand the extent of, and risks associated with, child abuse and neglect fatalities. The Commission will:
• Hear from researchers regarding strategies for improving national data and preventing fatalities.
• Learn more about the federal policy framework for addressing these fatalities.
• Gain a better understanding of confidentiality issues and possible solutions.
• Hear about child welfare, law enforcement, health, and public health strategies for addressing the issue of child abuse and neglect fatalities.

Attendance: Individuals interested in attending the meeting in person must register in advance due to limited space (see link above). The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The meeting also will be accessible via teleconference. Members of the public will not have the opportunity to ask questions or otherwise participate in the meeting, either on the phone or in person.

For further information:

Visit the CECANF website:

Or contact Patricia Brincefield, Communications Director, 1800 F St., NW, Room 7003D, Washington, DC 20006.
Phone: 202-818-9596