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

Wisconsin 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 5.2b]

DCF has implemented a new review protocol for qualifying cases, referred to as a Systems Change Review. The Systems Change Review is a process that focuses on critical incidents using principles of safety science to learn about ways the system can prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities or serious injuries. A Systems Change Review is applied to a subset of cases referred to DCF by the local child welfare agency. Eligible cases involve a recent incident resulting in a death or near death with prior agency contact that is recent and/or extensive. The review includes collaboration among the local child welfare agency, tribes, community stakeholders, DCF and other relevant parties. The collaboration is facilitated by DCF and includes a structured analysis of the system. Participants leave the collaboration with a better understanding of how the various components of the system influenced the case. Further, the findings of each case will be situated in a broader context of all cases reviewed, and recommendations will be made based on patterns and trends rather than a single case. [Recommendations 6.2, 5.1]