The Indiana Department of Child Services investigated 308 child deaths in 2022 and determined 61 were a result of abuse or 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.
According to the report, 17 of the fatalities were due to abuse, and 44 were the result of neglect. More than two-thirds of the fatalities involved a child 3 years old or younger, which is consistent with national trends.
Causes of death were taken from state death certificates. Death by weapon, including body part, was the leading cause of death, listed in 36 percent of cases. Unsafe sleeping arrangements, caregiver substance abuse, failure to supervise a child (especially near a body of water), driving while intoxicated and poisoning or overdose also were factors.
DCS reviews all child fatalities that meet 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.
More information on child abuse and neglect prevention can be found here.