175 helpless children have been beaten, starved, suffocated and burned to death in Colorado these past 5 years. Colorado and Minnesota are almost the exact same population size and have very similar child death records.
Minnesota’s record compared to Colorado is about the same with 202 deaths and near-deaths
The big difference is the Denver Post’s reporting in Colorado has been so much more extensive and effective in bringing change to an overwhelmed child protection system. An audit of Colorado’s child protection system has been called for and it just may happen. As a long time volunteer guardian ad-Litem for my county, I can testify that the resources just are not there for the social workers, educators, and health workers to address the depth and scope of child abuse in our state. We blame the social worker when a baby is found in a dumpster, and teachers for failing to teach really troubled children, often on psychotropic medications. As of yet we haven’t blamed the police for the crimes committed by offenders in their squad cars.
This conversation is overdue. Join me in asking our media to do more (Like the Denver Post)
|Since 2007, 175 children in Colorado have died of abuse and neglect beaten, starved, suffocated and burned. Deepening the tragedy is that the families or caregivers of 72 of them were known to caseworkers whose job was to protect them.|
|Caseworkers broke at least one rule while investigating alleged abuse or neglect in half the cases reviewed. Their jobs are tough, overwhelming and, at times, a matter of life and death.|
|State law dictates when child welfare departments are supposed to probe allegations of abuse and neglect, but counties have wide discretion in determining whether a call has enough information to proceed further.|
|A memorandum of understanding is one way counties can get police officials and child protection workers on the same page when helping the abused and neglected. But a distrust between the two groups simmers.|
|Child protection services in some Colorado counties have been victims of an antiquated funding process that gives money without considering need. The state is seeking to fix the inequity.|
|When children die of abuse and neglect, prosecuting their killers is difficult. Convictions can be elusive, sentences tend to be short and often charges are never filed at all.|
|Children who are beaten, starved or abandoned are likely to suffer emotional trauma so severe that it can impair the way their bodies and brains grow up — and, if never addressed, cause lifelong health problems.|
|Methods to help protect children from abuse and neglect exist, but Colorado has lacked the funding or political will to implement many of them.|
|03/09/2013 11:35 PM MSTLegislators will press their case for the state auditor to conduct a performance audit of child-protection issues, including a review of caseworker workloads, when Colorado’s Legislative Audit Committee meets Tuesday.|
Read more:Failed to Death – The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/failedtodeath#ixzz2NQVQGYCk
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Male caregivers linked to two-thirds of child deaths, injuries
- Article by: JEREMY OLSON , Star Tribune
- Updated: May 2, 2011 – 9:12 PM
Statewide study of more than 200 deaths or near-deaths of children examined the years between 2005 and 2009.
- A troubling new report on child mortality in Minnesota has found that male caregivers were responsible for two-thirds of child deaths and near-fatal injuries from 2005 to 2009.
While advocates suggested this might be an economic indicator — that parents who can’t afford child care are leaving kids with unfit caregivers — a state human services official said the problem is not new.
“Even before the economy went in a downward spiral, we saw deaths of children at the hands of male caregivers who were not equipped to care for infants,” said Erin Sullivan Sutton, an assistant commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Released last week, the report by the Minnesota Child Mortality Review Panel examined 202 deaths or near-deaths from 2005 through 2009. Incidents included drownings and other preventable accidents in the home, suicides, unexplained infant injuries and homicides.
Two-thirds of the 71 inflicted injuries or homicides involved male perpetrators, some with histories of drug abuse or violence.
Most of the cases involved children under age 3 who were shaken or who suffered blows to their heads.
“The strategies [for reducing these deaths] are making sure that moms have information about child-care options,” Sullivan Sutton said, “and also thinking about what questions they should ask themselves before leaving their babies in the care of anybody.” Caring for infants, she said, “is hard work.”
Still, the male-female disparity in child homicides and injuries is a “striking finding,” said Marcie Jefferys of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. Expanding child-care options and referrals is only part of the equation, she said.
“I had been noticing that in the paper for the last few years,” Jefferys said. “There are so many babies being killed by boyfriends or husbands while the mother is off to work.”
While abusive deaths and injuries were commonly committed by men, the review found more female caretakers at fault in cases of neglect.
Sullivan Sutton said both trends mirror data from the child welfare system on abuse and neglect complaints.
Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744