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NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Press Release
September 21, 2004

2003 Child Fatality Review Report Released 

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) today released the 2003 Accountability Review Panel Report. Issued by the Accountability Review Panel, an independent oversight group, the report reviews 24 New York City child fatalities that occurred in 2003.

In 2003, ACS investigated 52,617 reports of abuse and neglect involving 81,418 children. The deaths of the 24 children in families known to ACS represent about .04 percent of the total of New York City reports to the State Central Register (SCR) of Child Abuse and Maltreatment in 2003. 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 ACS.
  • 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 24 fatalities in 2003 reviewed by the Panel, six were homicides, four were due to natural causes, eight were the result of an accident and six 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 12 independent consultants as well as staff from ACS, 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.

ACS Press Office
Phone: 212-341-0999
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