The Indiana Department of Child Services investigated 271 child deaths in 2021 and determined 60 were a result of abuse and neglect. 

The Annual Report of Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities in Indiana details the circumstances leading to each fatality and highlights the risk factors that put children in danger. 

“The death of any child is a great loss for the families and communities,” DCS Director Terry Stigdon said. “We need to be able to learn from this report and make meaningful and lasting change to increase awareness of the risk factors that lead to these tragedies.”

Improper sleeping arrangements, including co-sleeping, remain a leading contributor to infant fatalities. Other common risk factors listed in the report were substance abuse, failure to supervise a child (especially near a body of water) and driving while intoxicated. 

DCS is legally required to review all child fatalities that fit under the following circumstances: 

  • For children under 3 years of age: the death is sudden, unexpected or unexplained, or involves allegations of abuse and neglect.  
  • For children age 3 or older: the death involves allegations of abuse or neglect. 

The full report can be found here.