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Pretty soon, a dreadful document will cross the desk of Mayor Vince Gray.
It’s called the Child Fatality Review Committee Annual Report, and it’s prepared by the District medical examiner’s office. The report lets the mayor know just how many kids the city lost to forces like disease, homicide, and suicide. The office says it’s almost done compiling its 2009 report.
In June 2010, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty got the same sort of update. The report told him there had been 178 child and youth fatalities in the District in 2008, 18 more casualties than in 2007.
The two leading causes of death would have given Fenty plenty to think on. Of the 178 children who died in 2007, 114 died of natural causes, and most were under the age of 1. But 47 others died as a result of homicide, and were between 15 and 20 years old.
Many of the statistics connected to the homicides weren’t that surprising in a city where black males make up most of the city’s murdered adults. 73 percent of those youths who fell to violence were male, and 93 percent were black.
The report headed for Gray will likely help shape policy for the often-under-fire D.C. juvenile justice system. In 2008, 22 youth fatalities involved residents who’d been involved with the juvenile justice system in the two years before they died. Of those, 21 were homicides. 18 were shot and three stabbed.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery