February 28, 2012 15:08 Age: 2 yrs

35 Children Under Child Protection Died in Georgia Since December

Thirty-five children in foster care or under Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services’ oversight have died since Dec. 1, Georgia Public Broadcasting reports. By comparison, GPB says, 92 children died in 2011.

DFACS officials, however, said it’s too soon to draw conclusions whether the number of deaths is unusually high.

Deputy Director Kathy Herren said that last year during the same six-week time frame, 30 children died, according to a GBP story published Feb. 22.

Barton Child Law and Policy Center’s Executive Director Melissa Carter says more investigation may be needed for correct interpretation.

“We do not have enough information to understand these numbers in context to know whether this is an absolute spike or if this shows an increase in risk,” Carter said.

In a separate story, GPB reported that six of those deaths were the result of children smothered while sleeping in the bed with adults, a common practice when families are first adjusting to newborns.

Carter said most parents don’t realize the risks of putting a newborn in bed with them.

“There’s a lot of public education that needs to happen about children not sleeping with their parents… not sleeping with a lot of soft bedding, which may seem like the right thing to do, you want your child to be soft and warm with fluffy things but that actually presents a risk to them,” Carter said.

Related Links:

Read the Georgia Public Broadcasting stories:

“Documents Reveal Child Deaths,” Feb. 21

“Agency: No Spike in Child Deaths,” Feb. 22

“Co-sleeping Puts Children at Risk,” Feb. 22

 

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center

Melissa Carter’s profile

 

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