All allegations received by DCS, including allegations that a child has died or nearly died as a result of abuse or neglect, are called into the statewide DCS Hotline.*
State law allows DCS to release case records, but that part of the law is limited to cases of abuse, abandonment or neglect resulting in a fatality or a near fatality. Therefore, there must be medical proof or other evidence that the fatality or near fatality was caused by abuse or neglect.
Among the information DCS considers when determining that a child’s death was the result of abuse or neglect are:
A statement from a physician or an autopsy finding that the child’s death was the result of abuse or neglect;
A statement from a parent, guardian or caregiver that they caused the child’s death or near death;
The arrest or criminal indictment of a parent, guardian or caregiver in connection with the child’s death; or,
A DCS investigation has resulted in a substantiated finding that abuse or neglect by a parent, guardian or caregiver caused the child's death or near death.
Additionally, in the case of a near fatality, a physician must certify that the child was in serious or critical condition due to the abuse or neglect.
* Not all maltreatment fatalities or near fatalities are reported to the statewide DCS Hotline. For example, law enforcement may not report a child death from maltreatment to DCS if there are no children in the home for whom there are safety concerns or risks. In addition, incidents that occur outside of DCS’ jurisdiction – for example, on tribal reservations or military installations – may not be reported to DCS.