A review of child deaths in Mahoning County reveals there was a downward trend in child fatalities through 2011, but preliminary data from 2012 has shown an increase.
The Mahoning County Child Fatality Review Board reported Wednesday that there were 26 child deaths in Mahoning County in 2011, a 32 percent decrease compared to 2010. Preliminary data for 2012 indicates an upswing in child deaths, the report released Wednesday said.
Of the child deaths, 53.8 percent were among white children, 42.3 percent were black, and the majority of deaths, 61.5 percent, were Youngstown residents. Three deaths were residents of Boardman, and one death was reported in Alliance, Austintown, Campbell, Canfield, Lake Milton, New Middletown and Poland.
Nearly half, 42 percent, of the deaths were in children less than 1 year old. However, children 1-2 years of age and 15-17 years of age were the second largest groups at 19 percent each.
In 2011, most of the deaths were of natural causes or birth defects, while accidental deaths accounted for 26.9 percent. Homicide accounted for 15.4 percent. In the four homicides, the victims were black males between the ages of 15 and 17.
In most of the cases, young black males were charged with or suspects in the homicides. Between 2004 and 2011, 31 child deaths in Mahoning County were homicides.
In response to the homicide deaths, the review board recommended early intervention and violence prevention programs continue to be developed and target children in early adolescence to prevent violent conflict resolution.
Each county is required to establish a CFR Board that must review the deaths of children under 18 years of age residing in that county. The CFR Board is then required to develop an annual report detailing their review.