DCYF report: 8 child fatalities, 23 near fatalities in RI over two-year span

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Over the course of two years, data from the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) revealed there were eight child fatalities in Rhode Island.

DCYF, along with the Rhode Island Department of Health, revealed a detailed analysis of child fatalities in the state between January 2016 and December 2017. DCYF said they investigated 31 fatalities and near fatalities. Of those incidents, eight were fatal.

Both departments are using the data to identify ways the state can better help at-risk families. One finding from the analysis suggests introducing a clear referral process, while also holding employees accountable.

“When you’re trying to manage 15, 20, 25 cases. You’ve got this family, you made the referral, ‘Phew you’re all done.’ No, not really,” DCYF Director Trista Piccola said. “Making sure that that family then gets connected to the service is the next step that we have to be much more intentional about and much more active about.”

Rep. Patricia Serpa, Chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, said she is pleased with the report.

“We can’t have any more dead babies in the state,” Serpa said. “They have some real data, some real numbers, and it sounds like they’ve got their players in place.”

DCYF said they will continue to analyze different programs and will consider more ways to improve the system, and that their work is far from over.

This story has been edited from its original version to clarify the data analysis conducted by the DCYF. There were 31 incidents that were analyzed, but only eight of them were fatalities.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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