About Child Death Review Teams*
The death of each child who dies because of abuse, injury or other preventable causes deserves competent multi-agency case review. The basic function of Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs) remains to assist in the investigation and management of individual child death reviews at the local level. CDRTs also play a critical role in identifying the causes and circumstances surrounding child deaths. This local knowledge can be used to design more effective strategies to prevent fatal child abuse and neglect and to enhance education and awareness about preventing other child deaths.
The work of CDRTs impacts several important areas: investigations, protection of siblings, data collection, system study, service planning, and prevention. First and foremost, CDRTs help to ensure the quality of child death investigations, while improving communication and cooperation between agencies responsible for child health, safety, protection, and welfare. Team activities help prosecutors in pursuing child abuse cases and social workers in protecting surviving siblings. In addition, the detailed information provided about the causes of child deaths can guide public health professionals in developing prevention and education programs on behalf of children.
Many counties utilize their team's findings to implement injury prevention programs, such as promoting the use of car/booster seat restraints and increasing awareness of drowning dangers to children in both swimming pools and California rivers. Others have championed legislation, such as passage of California's Safely Surrendered Baby Law. Additional topics that California CDRTs have identified as important for prevention include:
- Parenting risks, such as substance abuse;
- Preventable deaths: the continuum from abuse to neglect to "accidents";
- Suicide-prevention activities;
- Motor vehicle crashes (adolescent risk behaviors; vehicular rollover of children in off road locations, i.e., driveways, parking lots);
- Developmental disabilities.
For more information on the Marin County Child Death Review Team, contact Kay Randolph-Pollard at 415.507.9016, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*From Child Deaths in California, 1999 – 2001, JUNE 2005
State Child Death Review Council
California Attorney General's Office
Bill Lockyer, Attorney General