Pilot CWS-R-SAP – v. 1 Current CWS, 11.13. Perpetrators of Child Fatalities


Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign

Strategic Action Plan


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11.13. Perpetrators of Child Fatalities


The following chart has been created from data in the annual Oregon Child Welfare Data Books for the years 2009 through 2019.

Perpetrators of Child Fatalities Chart
Perpetrators of Child Fatalities Chart


Comparing this Child Fatality Perpetrators chart with the Perpetrators of Child Abuse chart on an earlier page identifies similarities among the top perpetrators in both charts, but also demonstrates fluctuations in frequency of child fatalities.


Even a quick glance at the above chart illustrates that the largest majority of child murders are by mothers, fathers, and both mothers and fathers together. With that knowledge alone, CPS Caseworkers need to take into account the potential of one or both of the parents in the child’s family to seriously abuse or neglect a child to the point of death. All in-home services for the parents must include reference to the awareness that most child murderers are mothers and/or fathers; make the parents aware that CPS understands the possibility and will be looking for any evidence leading toward increased violence or neglect. Ensure that visits are at least weekly, at unscheduled times, so the CPS Caseworker sees the child and family dynamics at various times of the day and week.


The biggest takeaway from this chart is the awareness to take action from the start to reduce or eliminate the parents’ violence or neglect before it escalates to murder.




Action Step 11.13.1: Include in the procedures for the first assessment by CPS Caseworkers to evaluate the potential for one or both parents to escalate violence or neglect to the point of killing their child.


Action Step 11.13.2: Ensure that the Best Practices programs are implemented in the in-home services plan to reduce or eliminate the potential for parents to escalate violence or neglect.


Action Step 11.13.3: Visit the family weekly, at varying times and days, to view the child and family dynamics from different perspectives. Ensure that the parents are questioned about their ability to cope, their feelings toward the child, and other probing questions to detect increased potential for violence or neglect. Also, interview the child to determine if the child’s fear is increasing, which is often an indication of increased violence or neglect.


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To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.


Jo Calk