Child abuse-related deaths in Pa. rose 43% in 2020. A new report shows the majority of victims were infants

Written by on October 12, 2021

Child abuse-related deaths in Pa. rose 43% in 2020. A new report shows the majority of victims were infants

By Chloe Nouvelle

October 12, 2021

Image from Pixabay

In the first 10 months of the pandemic, Pennsylvania saw a significant increase in child fatalities and near-fatalities stemming from abuse and neglect. 

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On Oct. 7, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services released its annual Child Protective Services Report, a yearly report on child abuse in the commonwealth.

State figures show in 2020, there were 73 substantiated child fatalities and 115 substantiated near fatalities that were a result of abuse and neglect. 

“That’s a 43% increase in fatalities and nearly 24% increase in near fatalities,” said Jon Rubin, deputy secretary of the Office of Children, Youth, and Families at Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services, when comparing the data to 2019 figures. 

According to the report, the majority of 2020’s fatalities and near fatalities occurred in children under the age of one. 

Rubin said his department is working to “assess the data” to learn more about the circumstances leading to the children’s deaths and serious injuries. 

“We have noted increases in substantiation of child fatalities related to prolonged, repeated, or egregious lack of supervision during the pandemic as well as increases of ingestion injuries in many of the near fatality reports,” said Rubin.

Rubin defined ingestion injuries as drug-related, of both illegal substances and prescription medication. 

The state’s report also said, “parents continue to be the persons most responsible for abuse of their children.”

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