DFCS Child Fatality Analysis cites sleep, parent drug use - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DFCS Child Fatality Analysis cites sleep, parent drug use

ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) released the 2013 Child Fatality Analysis Friday afternoon, to reduce the risk of harm to Georgia's children.

The report shows that safe sleep habits remain a major factor in deaths for children under 1, because 23% of all deaths in 2013 were sleep related. Nearly half, 48%, of all deaths for children under the age of one were sleep related.

Drug use and its impact on parents' ability to care for their children is a critical factor in DFCS involvements that precede child deaths.  For 43% of the child deaths with DFCS history in 2013, 43% involved families with prior allegations of substance abuse.

In South Georgia, the report showed that the cause of death was undetermined in eight cases. The death was natural causes in 21 cases, nine were accidental, six were homicide, and one was a suicide.

While not all of these deaths were directly attributed to the parent or caretaker's drug use, this statistic provides further insight into the risk factors at play in the lives of children whose families come into contact with DFCS.

 DFCS strives to improve Data Collection and Evaluation to provide a comprehensive analysis of ways to offer assistance to at-risk families. The agency says it also tries to improve care for medically-fragile children with targeted training for case managers and foster parents working with this population of children. 

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