The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths Endorses Second Edition of We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America

Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2010)—Announced today, the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths is fully endorsing the release of the Second Edition of the We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America report, produced by the Every Child Matters Education Fund (www.endchildabusedeaths.org). The Coalition is comprised of five national organizations:  the Every Child Matters Education Fund, the National Center for Child Death Review, National Children’s Alliance, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.

The new We Can Do Better report looks at child abuse and neglect deaths in the United States from 2001 through 2008. It estimates that over 12,000 children died from abuse or neglect during the eight-year period. Inconsistent reporting of data collection by states makes it impossible to provide an accurate assessment.

Michael Petit, President of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, stated, “Child abuse and neglect related deaths are tragic and avoidable. They deserve more attention from state and federal lawmakers.”

Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance, agreed with Petit and remarked, “As the national association of Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country, we felt it a natural fit to be part of this Coalition – and believe strongly that together we truly can do better for our country’s children.”

“Greater involvement by elected officials and the public can result in significant reductions in deaths from child abuse,” says NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH.  “A professionally trained child welfare workforce and supportive community prevention efforts can help mitigate family crises before the unthinkable occurs.”

The National Coalition is calling upon the American public to sign an online petition requesting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid sponsor Congressional hearings on child abuse fatalities. The online petition can also be found at www.everychildmatters.org/petition.

Information in the report is drawn from the most recent state data made available to the federal government.

Key findings from the report include:

  1. Child abuse and neglect fatalities flow from extensive child maltreatment in the U.S. There are nearly 3 million child abuse and neglect reports per year.
  2. Many more American children die from abuse and neglect than do children in other advanced countries. 
  3. It is largely an accident of geography whether abused or neglected children receive the full protection they need. Children in the states with the highest fatalities are 10 times more likely to die from abuse than the lowest state.
  4. Many child protection workers frequently lack the resources and training they need. Many carry caseloads much higher than national standards.
  5. Restrictive confidentiality laws shield the press, elected officials and the public from shortcomings in the child protection system.
  6. A national strategy is needed to stop maltreatment deaths.
  7. Current federal spending is far below the level needed to protect all children from imminent risk of harm.

For more information about the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths and the second edition of We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in the U.S. visit www.endchildabusedeaths.org.

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About the Members of the Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths:

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 145,000 members and 56 chapters. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies. Contact Joan Zlotnik, jzlotnik@naswdc.org  

The National Center for Child Death Review (NCCDR) is a resource center for state and local child death review programs. The center provides technical assistance to help teams develop, implement and sustain a prevention-focused CDR process, training, strategic planning and program development for state and local teams, consultation to coordinate with other reviews, including fetal and infant mortality, domestic violence, serious injury, and maternal mortality, support for the network of CDR program leaders. Contact Teri Covington, tcovingt@mphi.org

National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is a professional membership organization dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first. National Children's Alliance provides training, support, technical assistance and leadership on a national level to local children’s and child advocacy centers and communities responding to reports of child abuse and neglect. www.nationalchildrensalliance.org

The Every Child Matters Education Fund (ECMEF) was founded in 2002 with the mission to make children’s issues a political priority. To that end ECM has promoted the adoption of smart policies for children and youth. These include ensuring that children have access to affordable, comprehensive health care services, expanding early-care and learning opportunities and after-school programs, preventing violence, abuse, maltreatment and fatalities against children in their homes and alleviating child poverty.  Contact Michael Petit, mpetit@everychildmatters.org

The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), founded in 1950, is the oldest and largest professional organization representing criminal prosecutors in the world.  The National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA), a program of the NDAA was established in 1985. The NCPCA is staffed with professionals involved in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse, exploitation and computer facilitated crimes against children. Contact Suzanna Tiapula, suzanna.tiapula@ndaa.org

Key Terms

children, death, press release, campaign, report, partnership,

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