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

The Delaware Child Protection Accountability Commission and the state’s Child Death Review Commission have developed a joint action plan for reducing child fatalities and near fatalities that includes a multidisciplinary approach to addressing fatalities, with greater emphasis on proven prevention and intervention strategies such as home visiting programs, risk assessment tools, and differential response. Their efforts have been informed by the development of a spreadsheet that tracks child abuse and neglect deaths and near deaths in real time. [Recommendations 5.2, 6.2]

At this writing, the state legislature is considering Aiden’s Law (House Bill 140), which would formalize a uniform and collaborative response protocol for the development of a Plan of Safe Care for infants with prenatal substance exposure and their affected family or caregivers, and require a plan of safe care for infants with prenatal substance exposure.  Among other things, the bill would require that notifications of infants with prenatal substance exposure be made to DSCYF’s Division of Family Services by the health care provider involved in the delivery or care of the infant, and would require a coordinated, service-integrated response by various agencies in the state’s health and child welfare systems to work together to ensure the safety and well-being of infants with prenatal substance exposure by developing, implementing, and monitoring a Plan of Safe Care that addresses the health and substance use treatment needs of the infant and affected family or caregiver. [Recommendations 7.1, 7.2f]