Statement of purpose The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have been charged by the Select Committee on Child Protection, a legislative committee, with reducing child fatalities from abuse and neglect by developing a strategic plan to address the types of cases that are occurring and the underlying risks that exist in families and communities. The goal is to reduce child abuse and neglect fatalities by providing timely, evidence-based services to families and communities, help guide and direct prevention and intervention programs, and identify unmet needs so programs can be developed and coordinated between agencies.
Methods/Approach The Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services partnered to form an ongoing workgroup to review child fatality data linked between DFPS and DSHS. The focus of this workgroup was to make recommendations for interagency collaboration to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities. Meetings were held with subject matter experts within both agencies once target areas were identified to inform the strategic plan.
Results The workgroup developed a comprehensive, evidence-based action plan with interagency coordination to decrease deaths in the following areas: sleep-related, hyperthermia and motor vehicle pedestrian, and physical abuse/parental intimate partner violence. Action plan items include creating interagency workgroups and educational campaigns, working with local partners to address safe sleep and intimate partner violence in non-traditional environments, and working with groups such as child fatality review teams to assess prevention strategies in targeted areas.
Conclusions The workgroup formed by the Select Committee on Child Protection, a legislative committee, created a thorough strategic plan to guide prevention efforts for child abuse and neglect deaths. Various workgroups and initiatives regarding safe sleep, motor vehicle safety and physical abuse/intimate partner violence commenced from the collaboration between state and local agencies.
Significance and contribution to the field Collaboration between state public health agencies is crucial in providing the community with the best prevention and intervention programs available to prevent child abuse and neglect deaths.
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