Kentucky had the highest rate of child deaths from abuse and neglect in the United States during 2007, according to a report released Wednesday by a national child advocacy group.
Every Child Matters Education Fund, a non-profit group in Washington, D.C., reported that 41 Kentucky children died from abuse and neglect in 2007 — a rate of 4.09 deaths per 100,000 Kentucky children.
To help stem the tide of deaths, the group called on state officials to make public specific information about each child's death, including whether he or she had previous contact with state social workers.
"If you want to stop children from dying, it would be in the best interest of Kentucky to open up the process," said Michael Petit, the group's president. "It's not a question of affixing blame; it's a question of learning."
Kentucky law permits the disclosure of details about children who die from abuse or neglect but does not appear to mandate release of the information.
Each year, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services produces an annual report of deaths and near deaths caused by child abuse and neglect, but it does not provide any specifics about each child's case.
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