Child maltreatment deaths

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Definitions: Figures represent the number of children ages 0-17 who died as a result of maltreatment. Data are for calendar years.


To gain greater understanding of the contribution of neglect and abuse to child mortality, the Arizona Child Fatality Review Teams answered several questions regarding maltreatment. In order for a death to be classified as a result of maltreatment, the following three conditions must be met:
1. “An act or failure to act by a parent, caregiver, or other person as defined under State law which results in physical abuse, neglect, medical neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a child” applied to the circumstances surrounding the death (from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services definition of maltreatment).
2. The relationship of the individual accused of committing the maltreatment to the child must be the child’s parent, guardian, or caretaker.
3. A team member, who is a mandated reporter, would be obligated to report a similar incident to Child Protective Services.
Deaths classified as maltreatment are also reported in other categories by manner and cause of death. For example, a death due to abusive head trauma would be classified as a manner of homicide, cause of shaken infant (person’s body part used as a weapon), and a maltreatment death. An accidental or natural death might also be classified as a maltreatment death if, in the opinion of the team, a caretaker’s negligence or actions contributed to or caused the death. For example, it would be maltreatment if a child died in a motor vehicle crash due to the parent driving while intoxicated with the child in the car.
The number of child maltreatment deaths presented in this report is not comparable to child maltreatment deaths reported by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (AzDES) for the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). NCANDS includes maltreatment deaths identified through Child Protective Services investigations, and because some maltreatment deaths identified by Local Child Fatality Review Teams may not have been reported to Child Protective Services or were within the jurisdiction of Tribal Nations, these deaths would not be included in AzDES’s annual report to NCANDS. However, when a Local Child Fatality Review team identifies a death due to maltreatment that has not been previously reported to Child Protective Services, the Local Child Fatality Review Program notifies Child Protective Services of the team’s assessment so that an investigation can be initiated.

Data Source:

Arizona Department of Health, Bureau of Women's and Children's Health, Child Fatality Review Report, Maltreatment Deaths Section. Annual reports contains statistics from prior year.



Footnotes:

Beginning in 2002, the definition changed from “child abuse” to “child maltreatment.”