Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "child deaths" ...

  • The Brief Life and Private Death of Alexandria Hill

    Squeezed by high caseloads and tight budgets, child welfare agencies across the country are increasingly turning to for-profit companies and cash-strapped non-profit agencies to recruit, screen, train, and monitor foster parents. This little-known but common policy has resulted in child deaths across the country, in part because private agencies have a financial incentive to ignore the sketchy backgrounds of foster parents or festering problems in their homes.
  • Children Abused: Deaths Ignored

    This is an ongoing investigation of egregious errors by Denver Human Services and other Colorado human services agencies that have contributed to multiple child deaths and injuries. The investigation has, so far, resulted in new state laws to protect children, the removal of the director of DHS, a statewide audit revealing lack of proper background checks for placement homes, the criminal prosecution of a caseworker for falsifying records, a state-mandated third party review of DHS and its supervision of caseworkers, appointment of a city wide task force to identify child abuse in schools, four separate investigations by the state child protection ombudsman, and the allocation of more than $3-million for new DHS caseworkers and supervisors.
  • Newtown One Year After

    Mother Jones senior editor Mark Follman spent the past year covering the recurring tragedies of mass shootings while researching his “Guide to Mass Shootings in America”—a first-of-its-kind, continuously updated dataset that Follman started in July 2012 after the Aurora movie theater shooting. In advance of the December 2013 anniversary of the killings in Newtown, Follman took on a new, especially devastating aspect of the guns beat: He led a group of reporters in documenting the children ages 12 and under who were killed by firearms in the year since the Sandy Hook tragedy. The team undertook an exhaustive analysis, scouring news reports to generate a comprehensive picture of the effects of guns on children in America. Their findings were stark: In the last year alone, guns killed at least 194 children—across 43 states, from inner cities to rural towns. Their average age: 6. The vast majority—127 in total—died in their own homes, with 72 children pulling the trigger themselves or being shot by another child and 60 dying at the hands of their own parents. As many cases don’t make the news, Follman cites medical research that pegs the actual number of child deaths from guns to around 500 each year.
  • Waiting to React: Tennessee's child protection failures

    A lawmaker's concern about child deaths triggered a probing and ongoing Tennessean investigation into the failings and illegal practices of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. The newspaper detailed how the department broke the law by not reporting deaths to lawmakers; failed to keep accurate fatality statistics; allowed thousands of child abuse hotline calls to go unanswered; struggled to handle a spike in violence at youth detention centers; and adopted adversarial positions against child advocates, lawmakers, police and the agencies that oversee the department. Led by two reporters, the newspaper has exposed the department's $37 million computer installation debacle, shortcomings in how officials contract with private companies, and how a wave of abrupt senior-level firings made DCS one of the most volatile departments in Tennessee government. Through records requests, data analyses, close readings of reports and audits, and persistent questioning, The Tennessean penetrated the secretive $650 million department and provided a level of accountability just as the department has moved to dismantle other forms of oversight. The reporting prompted Gov. Bill Haslam to personally review DCS case files and forced the department to comply with fatality notification laws. An ongoing open records lawsuit led by The Tennessean and backed by the state's largest ever media coalition now seeks to force DCS to make child fatality records available to the media and the public for the first time.
  • Children At Risk

    After years of reform to Illinois' child welfare system, the violent deaths of two young boys whose families had been previously investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services led the Tribune to question whether the state had done enough to protect them. Reporters Christy Gutowski and Bill Ruthhart found the state was violating critical terms of a federal consent decree that set limits on caseloads for child abuse investigators and deadlines for case closures. Through limited public records, sources and confidential reports, the reporters detailed more than a dozen child abuse deaths that occurred after state welfare officials had been notified. They also investigated the state’s woeful child abuse hotline, probed the state’s failure to properly inspect child day care facilities and analyzed how the agency’s layoffs fell disproportionately on its most critical positions – investigators. Gutowski and Ruthhart also illustrated how proposed state budget cuts could force more children into foster care and revisited the legacy of two troubling child deaths in the 1990s that led to the federal consent decree. It was in their memories that this project was born.
  • Unprotected: An Investigation o Sacramento County's Child Protective Services

    A dozen years after the 1996 torture-death of one boy triggered major reforms within Sacramento County's Child Protective Services, -- and resulted in a quadrupling of the agency's budget and doubling of its staff -- many of the same problems persist in 2008. The Sacramento Bee found that, despite the massive increase in resources, numerous children continue to be injured or killed who had prior involvement with Sacramento's CPS. Among the problems detailed by The Bee: inadequate supervision and training, sloppy investigations, poor evaluation of children's risk, lack of accountability for serious mistakes. In its follow-up stories, which prompted a grand jury investigation, The Bee used a new state law related to child deaths to push CPS to release case files and found it had illegally altered the records of one boy who died in their care.
  • The Loss of Innocents

    This three-part series uncovered case after case of reported child abuse and neglect that social service agencies failed to act upon. Many of these cases resulted in the death of a child. Even after death these cases were ignored because state records were inaccurate and those responsible for the death were often not prosecuted. Colorado is one of a handful of states that does not require review of unexpected child deaths.
  • Children Left Behind

    The reporters set out to assess the problems children in Cleveland face. They managed to uncover hazards that even the public officials and community activists who had dedicated their careers to these issues. for example, they found that half a million Ohio Children live next door to a toxic waste site. Another finding was that nearly 1 million children live in poor housing, putting them at greater risk for fires, accidents, and environmental health hazards such as lead poisoning and asthma. They also discovered that babies born to teenage mothers are much more likely to be premature, and these babies had cost the state roughly $161 million dollars in five year. Another finding was that children of color were in most danger, they account for about a quarter of all child deaths.
  • Defenseless: How Indiana children die needlessly

    The Indianapolis Star series "examined the deaths of children who died from abuse and neglect to learn not just how--but why--they died. The major finding: State officials had in recent years vastly underreported the number of deaths from mistreatment."
  • (Untitled)

    The Mobile Register investigates the death of John Daniel "Little Man" Powell Jr., a toddler beaten so savagely that his head swelled up with blood. The Register's investigation into the child's last days unraveled the larger story of a state agency that had failed him, and other abused children, repeatedly and shamefully. (June 3, July 14; August 10, 11, 25, 29; September 7, 8; October 20, 1996)