Documenting Child Maltreatment Deaths

Why This Matters

There is broad consensus that the United States significantly undercounts and underreports the number of child maltreatment fatalities each year. Many of these deaths were preceded by calls to child protection, law enforcement, or social services. When these deaths are uncounted, the victims unnamed and their stories untold, the opportunity to identify patterns, reexamine policies and practices, and take action to prevent additional deaths is lost. Lives Cut Short seeks to count and document children who die of abuse and neglect. We share this information with the public in the hopes of revitalizing efforts to prevent child maltreatment fatalities.

A Jumble of Standards: How State and Federal Authorities Have Underestimated Child Maltreatment Fatalities
“I agreed to be a member of the Board of Advisors because every child death due to abuse or neglect is a tragedy that could be prevented, so understanding how and why these deaths occur can hopefully improve services for families and help medical providers, child protective services, police, and other family agencies recognize such children at risk before the tragedy occurs.”
— John M. Leventhal, MD, Advisory Board Member
"In New York City, we routinely studied the lessons to be learned from the tragic deaths of children brought to our attention, and we routinely made course corrections based on those lessons. However, we were unable to gather national data on child deaths and undoubtedly missed some lessons available to other jurisdictions. By allowing us to see national and state patterns of child deaths, this database will be enormously helpful to those of us on the frontlines of child protection."
— John Mattingly, PhD, Advisory Board Member
“The establishment of this innovative database, Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths Integrated Database (CANDID) will more accurately count the number of children across the U.S. who die from maltreatment. To date the only estimates we have are seriously flawed by different definitions and ways of counting. Such flawed numbers omit many children rendering them invisible to policy makers and the public alike. The Lives Cut Short count will make these children visible by allowing this problem to be counted, examined, studied and analyzed to develop effective policy solutions. AEI has put together the top researchers in the field to open a window into the deaths of these American children that will allow policy makers to make informed decisions and for the public to demand them.”
— Cassie Statuto-Bevan, Ed.D, Advisory Board Member
“Our work in Minnesota has demonstrated an urgent need for increased government transparency and accountability related to child maltreatment fatalities. The new CANDID database and website will provide powerful, much needed incentives for states to improve their performance in this area that has life-and-death consequences for children.”
— Rich Gehrman, Advisory Board Member