Sacramento County continues to see dramatic results in the community-wide effort to reduce African American child deaths. In a recent report compiled by Applied Survey Research (ASR), the results for FY 2019-20 show progress in addressing the longstanding issue of African American children dying at twice the rate of children of other races. The top four causes of the disparity in preventable child deaths are perinatal conditions, infant sleep-related deaths, child abuse and neglect homicides, and third-party homicide.
Summary of the data:
Using Child Death Review Team and Public Health data, the following decreases in the rate of African American child deaths and changes in disparity compared to other races was determined. When comparing 2012-14 to 2016-18, for African Americans in Sacramento County there was a:
- 19 percent reduction in infant death rate and a 33 percent reduction in disparity.
- 51 percent reduction in infant sleep-related death rate and a 58 percent reduction in disparity.
- 88 percent reduction in the rate for child abuse and neglect homicides for children ages 0-17 and a 95 percent reduction in disparity.
“Our community began this critical work with the goal of reducing African American child deaths 10-20 percent by 2020. Data through 2018 indicate that due to thoughtful, community-led partnerships, programs and interventions, we have hit the lofty mark we set, and in fact, when it comes to specific types of child death, we’ve far exceeded our goal” said Phil Serna, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors and First 5 Sacramento Commission. “Now, however, is not the time for complacency, but it is time to double-down and build on the progress we’ve made, especially given the uncertainty the pandemic presents, including the myriad associated increases in violence, mental health needs and pronounced racial inequities. It is more important than ever to support African American families and invest in the health and safety of our youngest residents, and that’s exactly what I and others will continue to forcefully advocate.”
“In a year when the impact of disparities has been made painfully clear, we are heartened by ongoing evidence that community-led and whole-family strategies to reduce the leading causes of African-American child deaths are proving effective. The results of these efforts demonstrate the importance of long-term commitments to preventive supports for families – particularly black families and those from other underserved communities,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center, which manages the Black Child Legacy Campaign, and co-chair of the Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths. “We will continue in partnership to push hard for the safety, true equity and support our communities need to lead healthy and meaningful lives.”