"This case illustrates the reality frequently revealed at death review: That chances to intervene and potentially save a child's life are sometimes missed by several agencies and individuals . . . prior to the death," the report states.
In an effort to combat the lack of coordinated data, the interagency council successfully pushed legislation requiring state officials to record death data that are tabulated by the agency and its counterparts in California's 58 counties.
Still, Tilton-Durfee said, more should be done to coordinate the job of protecting children. "The way you would have known" about dangers faced by children who ended up dead, she said, "is if agencies talked to each other."
There was good news in the report, notably that even though accidental deaths were up 10% in 1998, deaths by drowning dropped 33%, possibly because of new laws requiring protection for children around newly constructed pools.
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Child Deaths in L.A. County
Here are statistics from the most recent years for which data are available.
1996 1997 1998 Homicides 53 45 49 Accidental deaths 61 86 95 Adolescent suicides 36 20 15 Fetal deaths n/a 33 38
Source: Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect