Better Child-Safety Practices Urged on Ark. DHS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A review of 29 deaths of children known to the Arkansas child-protection agency resulted in recommendations that the state work harder at keeping children safe from abuse and neglect.

Better communications, less-formulaic thinking and actions, better followup and better supervision of caseworkers are among the recommendations in the report by a consultancy firm.

Hornby Zeller Associates of Little Rock studied deaths involving youngsters known to the state Division of Children and Family Services, an arm of the state Department of Human Services.

According to the report, eight of the deaths were of children about whom an allegation of abuse or neglect had been made, but judged unfounded by DCFS workers.

The report was unclear on how many of those children died from abuse or neglect. Among the 29, the report says, seven of the deaths clearly resulted from abuse, 12 causes of death were unknown, and 10 deaths were clearly not the result of abuse or neglect.

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