Special Efforts Being Made in Alabama to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

October 25, 2017 - Review finds language bias at Alabama child-welfare agency, when the child-welfare system wrongly denied services to people who couldn't speak proficient English and has agreed to make changes, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. [ Recommendation 4.2]

Alabama is one of eight states participating in the Three Branch Institute’s technical assistance effort on child safety and strategies to eliminate child fatalities due to abuse and neglect. The Three Branch Institute was founded in 2009 as a partnership among the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Casey Family Programs, the National Center for State Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. They will provide assistance to states in developing child fatality prevention plans that will be implemented by December 2017. [Recommendation 5.2(b)]

In March 2017, Alabama started offering free baby boxes—cardboard boxes that double as bassinets—to the families of all newborns in the state. The effort is aimed at eliminating bed sharing, which is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Parents watch online videos about SIDS and safe sleep and complete a short quiz. They can then pick up a box at a local distribution center or have it mailed to them. The sturdy, portable box comes with a firm foam mattress and tight-fitting sheet; also included are breastfeeding accessories, a onesie, diapers and wipes. Alabama plans to distribute 60,000 boxes. [Recommendation 7.1c]