The New York City Administration for Children’s Services today released the 2004 Accountability Review Panel Report. Issued by the Accountability Review Panel (ARP), an independent oversight group, the report reviews 33 child fatalities that occurred in 2004. The report covers only those fatalities in families with previous child welfare history that were reported to the New York State Central Registry (SCR) Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline, and only those fatalities that were reported in 2004.
In calendar year 2004, Children’s Services investigated 48,884 reports of abuse and neglect involving 76,462 children. The deaths of the 33 children in families known to Children’s Services represent about .07 percent of the total number of cases the Agency investigated last year. While reviewing the report, it is important to remember the following:
- The purpose of the report is to identify specific areas where ACS case practice may be changed, improved or enhanced. The panel also reviews the effectiveness of intervention provided by other service systems working with families where fatalities occurred--such as the legal, medical, and educational systems--and similarly makes recommendations for improved interagency collaboration.
- The report does not include every child fatality in New York City. Only those cases where a member of the household is “known” to the child welfare system are referred to the panel for review. To be considered known, a member of the household must have been the subject of a previous report to the SCR, or must be receiving services at the time of the fatality report. Since Elisa’s Law was passed in February 1996, any family that has been the subject of a report of child maltreatment, regardless of whether or not the report was substantiated, is considered known to Children’s Services.
- A fatality reported to the SCR is not in itself evidence that a child died as a result of maltreatment or a homicide. Of the 33 fatalities reviewed, seven were homicides, one was suicide, three resulted from natural causes, seven were caused by accident and 15 were undetermined.
The ARP consists of experts from outside of City government in the areas of medicine, psychiatry, public administration and social work. It includes 11 independent consultants, as well as staff from ACS, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, NYC Family Courts, Office of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner, NYC Department of Education, and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. To obtain a copy of the report, call 212/341-0999.