Child fatality due to maltreatment is defined as the death of a child as a result of abuse or neglect, because either (a) an injury resulting from the abuse or neglect of a child was the cause of the death, or (b) abuse and/or neglect were contributing factors to the cause of death. Data on child fatalities are collected from all states; some state offices of child protective services work closely with health departments or the coroner’s office, whereas others rely more on their own records, including deaths reported to them by law enforcement. Only those fatalities that were known to CPS and reported in the Child File are included in these analyses.
These are case-level data reported in the Child File and, therefore, are a subset of all child fatalities.
Fatalities of an unknown age, including unborn children, are excluded.
The number of reporting states varies from year to year. 2008: 42 states excluding AK, CA, ME, MA, NH, NC, ND, OR, WA. 2009: 43 states excluding AK, CA, ME, MA, NC, ND, OR, WA. 2010: 43 states excluding AK, CA, ME, MA, NC, NH, OR, WA. 2011: 44 states excluding AK, CA, ME, MA, NC, OR, WA.