INDIANAPOLIS — There were 50 Hoosier children who died from abuse or neglect in 2020, the Department of Child Services said in a report released Thursday.
Marion and Lake counties recorded the state’s highest number of child fatalities, recording seven deaths caused by abuse or neglect.
Over half those victims were 3 years old or younger.
Death by weapon, including a body part, was the most common cause of death. It was listed in 50% of the cases as a primary factor.
According to DCS, 44% of the deaths were declared homicides, while 34% of the deaths were ruled accidental.
In 78% of cases, the death occurred in the victim’s own home.
The victim’s biological parents were often deemed responsible for the child fatalities detailed in the report, accounting for 81% of the alleged perpetrators, or 48 out of a total 59. Some cases cite multiple perpetrators as responsible for the death of the same child.
In 2020, the Indiana Department of Child Services was called to investigate 281 child fatalities in which abuse or neglect was suspected to be a factor. This is up from 276 in 2019.
The number of children who died from abuse or neglect in Indiana decreased by 18% from 2019, when the report showed 61 children died.
DCS is legally required to review all child fatalities that fit the following circumstances:
- For children under 1 year of age: the death is sudden, unexpected, unexplained or involves allegations of neglect/abuse.
- For children age 1 or older: the death involves allegations of abuse or neglect.
The full report can be found here.