With more than 300 child deaths in the last decade in Washington County, a group is coming together to keep those numbers down.
Thursday the Infant and Child Death Review Team met for the first time to review cases of child death. A woman who’s still mourning the loss of her grandchild is hoping the new group will keep it from again.
It's been almost two years since 2-year-old Dominic Doss died after being shaken and slammed to the floor by his father’s girlfriend, Amber Drain, in Fayetteville. Even though Drain is behind bars, for Doss’ grandmother, Debbie Dumond, it's like a weight in her heart that never goes away.
"It's been like living outside of your life,” Dumond says. “Our family is fractured over it. You think about him every single day."
Washington County’s new initiative hopes to keep others from feeling her pain. The team will go through every unexpected child death, everything from auto accidents to murders, and find ways to keep it from happening again.
"To go back and look at something that's already happened,” Dumond says. “I hope it is because it will prevent another child being murdered."
The team will be led by Washington County’s coroner and made up of members who deal with a child's death every step of the way.
"You're looking at the spectrum of events that occurred,” says Arkansas Director of Child Death Review Program Director Dr. Pamela Tabor. “So you're looking at everything from the EMS where that’s maybe the first responder and the hospital personnel, all the way to the end where it's the coroner."
Even the Department of Children and Families joins this team. The goal is to look at each case from different perspectives. They'll make recommendations, and keep everyone accountable.
My hope is that I get all my key players in place that we have a very professional team and that we actually make a difference," Tabor says.
And Doss’ grandmother has hopes for the same.
"Even though we have suffered, what we have and we will never have our Dominic again and we just need somebody to listen and to help us," Dumond says.
The program is in several other counties across the state, including Crawford and Sebastian counties.