The NCECAD believes that advancement of the following priorities will have the greatest impact on keeping more children safe and alive.

  1. Improve data sharing between federal agencies and advance real-time information exchange and cross-notification between child protection, law enforcement, health care and education providers, and child death review teams. Ensure analysis and sharing of data is transparent and fully considers racial equity impact.

  2. Work to better align existing federal requirements relating to fatality disclosure and prevention with the capacity of states to fully implement the law and the Administration to ensure meaningful compliance. Advance child welfare finance reform by updating Title IV-E eligibility requirements and improving collaboration across Congressional committees of jurisdiction. Advocate for continued pandemic relief for children and families.

  3. Enhance CPS capacity to support children at risk of fatalities by improving access to high-quality primary and secondary prevention services, including treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. Strengthen family support programs which advance the economic security and reduce unnecessary CPS interactions.

  4. Establish national uniform definitions for child abuse and neglect fatalities and life-threatening injuries for purposes of federal reporting and classification.

  5. Improve quality, consistency, and reliability of federal data and state disclosure of child abuse and neglect fatalities and near-fatalities. Expand data reporting elements, enhance oversight and enforcement of existing requirements, and hold states accountable for outcomes. Support development of a cross-system national data repository to collect, analyze, and report data on fatalities and life-threatening injuries from maltreatment.

  6. Incentivize multidisciplinary investigations and reviews of child abuse and neglect fatalities and establish standards and best practices for state child death review teams.

  7. Require the development and implementation of coordinated, comprehensive state fatality prevention plans based on review and analysis of historical fatality data. Advocate for timely implementation of Family First fatality prevention provisions. Promote guidance to states on fatality prevention plan models.

  8. Enable the child welfare workforce to more effectively serve clients by supporting reasonable caseload standards, quality management and supervision, enhanced specialization, and professionalization of the workforce. Promote greater diversity and inclusivity in the child welfare workforce.

  9. Encourage and incentivize CPS agencies to review and strengthen hotline and screening protocols and enhance training, ensuring prioritized response to babies and children under three. Support the development of and provide guidance on the expanded use of warmlines and helplines as a less intrusive option to support families struggling with basic needs.

  10. Formulate a federal “minimum standard” for mandated reporters, aligning licensure and continuing education requirements with training, and ensuring funding for profession-specific training of mandated reporters, including training on diversity, equity and inclusion. CPS agencies should be required to follow-up with mandated reporters who submit a report to the hotline.