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State Child Death Review Board: Child deaths rate up slightly in 2016

Release Date: Sep 28, 2018

TOPEKA – (September 28, 2018) – The child death rate in Kansas ticked up slightly in 2016 after reaching a record low in 2015, according to a report released today by the Kansas State Child Death Review Board.

The board’s 2018 annual report analyzes deaths that occurred in calendar year 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. The report showed that Kansas had 394 child fatalities that year, the same number as reported in 2015. However, the overall population of children in Kansas declined in 2016, resulting in a slight increase in the death rate to 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

“I appreciate the dedicated work of the State Child Death Review Board in compiling this information to help inform policymakers on steps to help prevent deaths of Kansas children,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “While this report indicates that the child death rate in Kansas remains at near-record lows, there are also areas for improvement, particularly in the area of preventing youth suicides.”

The report indicated that 20 Kansas youth were identified as committing suicide in 2016, up from 18 in the previous year. Since 2005, Kansas has shown a steady increase in the rate of youth suicides. That rate has more than doubled over the past 11 years.

Schmidt and the Tower Mental Health Foundation have formed the Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is conducting meetings across the state to survey efforts already underway in Kansas to counter youth suicide and recommend further steps to address the situation. More information on the task force is available at www.ag.ks.gov/ysptf.

 “While it is promising to see that the overall death rates are decreasing for Kansas children, the number of youth suicides remain a concern,” said Sara Hortenstine, the board’s executive director. “The information provided within this report should continue to inform individuals, organizations, and the State of Kansas as a whole to continue prevention efforts surrounding child fatalities in our state.”

The report also included:

  • The rate of infant deaths – which includes newborns through 1 year of age – was up slightly at 6.2 deaths per 1,000 live births from 6.1 in 2015.
  • The child homicide rate in 2016 decreased from the previous year with 2.2 deaths per 100,000 population occurring. In 56 percent of those cases, the death resulted from child abuse.

In addition to policy recommendations, the report includes prevention points that families can use to decrease the likelihood of a child’s death.

The board is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency volunteer board organized by law within the Attorney General’s Office to examine trends and patterns that identify risk factors in the deaths of children, from birth through 17 years of age.

The report is available on the attorney general’s website at http://bit.ly/2zwopGB.

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