December 31, 2003
2002 Child Fatality Review Report Released
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) released today the 2002 Accountability Review Panel Report. Issued by the Accountability Review Panel, an independent oversight group, the Report reviewed 25 child fatalities that occurred in 2002.
In 2002, ACS investigated 55,714 reports of abuse and neglect involving 87,538 children. The deaths of the 25 children in families known to ACS represent about .04 percent of the total of New York City SCR reports for 2002. While reviewing the report, it is important to remember the following:
- The panel’s findings and recommendations are based solely on the limited number of cases it reviews and not on a comprehensive review of the thousands of interactions the agency has with children and families across the City each day. 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 NYC. 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 ACS. Prior to Elisa’s Law, all unsubstantiated reports were expunged from the SCR.
- 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 25 fatalities in 2002 reviewed by the Panel, 10 were homicides (including one in which the child was a victim of a random crime and a report was called into the SCR because of suspected lack of adult supervision), 4 were due to natural causes, 4 were the result of an accident, 1 was a suicide and 6 were undetermined (the Medical Examiner was unable to determine the manner of death).
The Accountability Review Panel is an independent oversight group consisting of experts from outside of City government in the areas of law, medicine, psychiatry, public administration and social work. The Panel includes 13 independent consultants as well as staff from ACS, Mayor’s Office of Operations, NYC Family Courts, Office of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner, NYC Board of Education, and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. ACS’s General Counsel Joseph Cardieri oversees the presentations to the Panel and its administrative support. To obtain a copy of the report, call (212) 341-0999.