The Department of Justice Releases a Child Fatality Report
According to Montana's Child and Family Services in 2017, 14 children died in a 12-month period. State law requires the Department of Public Health and Human Services to notify the Montana Department of Justice the fatality of any child who had previously been reported to CFSD.
It is the second report released by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Child and Family Ombudsman (OCFO) since mandated by the Montana Legislature in 2015.
Attorney General Tim Fox said of the report, “The review team’s findings are heartbreaking and simply unacceptable. I’m committed to working with Governor Bullock and DPHHS to give all Montanans the opportunity to live a healthy life. The state can and must do better.”
Of the 14 fatalities reviewed by the CFR Team:
Five deaths were deemed homicides.
Four deaths were ruled accidental.
Two deaths were due to medical complications for the child. Both included drug use by the mother, which may have contributed to the child’s health.
One death was confirmed as a suicide.
Two deaths were unknown for cause or the investigation is ongoing.
The review team also found:
Twelve of the fatalities involved prior reports to CFSD on the child/children in the home.
In nine of the cases, drugs or alcohol were identified as a possible factors.
Ten of the fatalities involved children one-year-old or younger.
Ten involved cases with surviving siblings, four involved cases in which a sibling or siblings were removed from the home following the fatality.
Six involved cases where the alleged perpetrator had a criminal history.
Six of the fatalities led to criminal charges being filed.