Child Fatalities

Utah Child Fatality Review Committee

In 1992, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) established the Utah Child Fatality Review Committee (CFRC). The CFRC was charged with the review of the circumstances and cause of all childhood deaths in the state. The purpose of the CFRC is to develop a better understanding of child deaths in order to reduce the number of intentional and unintentional deaths of Utah children. Often, this involves improving the response of various agencies involved in the investigation of child deaths to prevent future deaths.

"Child fatality review teams... have expanded toward a public health model of prevention of child fatality through systematic review of child deaths
from birth through adolescence."

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

 

In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement supporting federal and state legislation to enhance the child death review process, as it is seen as an effective public health approach to reducing the number of child deaths. The AAP also recommended that pediatricians become involved in reviews in their local areas (1).

The goals of the CRFC are to:

  1. Identify and describe risk factors by studying and reporting trends and patterns of child deaths in Utah.
  2. Maximize resources through interagency collaboration to identify and describe the delivery of services by the involved systems (medical, human services, and law enforcement) to high-risk children, and make policy recommendations to improve the service systems to better meet the needs of all families involved with these systems.
  3. Promote effective prevention strategies to reduce the number of child deaths.
  4. Refer issues and propose strategies to appropriate organizations and agencies to promote education and prevention.

The CFRC meets once a month to review deaths of all Utah children (ages 0-18) who died within the three months prior, as well as any recent suspicious cases, which are identified by the Office of the Medical Examiner. These include homicides, suicides, suspicious or undetermined deaths, as well as any sudden and unexpected deaths. This death review process provides a detailed understanding of how and why child deaths occur in Utah.

Committee Membership

The CFRC is a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of representatives from the following agencies:

Periodically, other members are invited to attend reviews if they are involved in a case. These include representatives from support services, day care centers, and child advocacy centers.

References

  1. Policy Statement Child Fatality Review. Christian CW, Sege RD. The Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, The Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, and The Council on Community Pediatrics. Pediatrics 2010;126;592-596; originally published online Aug 30, 2010; DOI 101542/peds 2010-2006.