The Indiana Department of Child Services has begun the process of establishing child fatality review teams across the state.
Review teams will be organized in the 18 regions the DCS staffs throughout Indiana. Each team will be comprised of a coroner or deputy coroner, a pathologist, and representatives from law enforcement, mental-health services, pediatric medicine, county health departments, prosecutors’ offices, fire department, school districts and emergency medical services.
Senate Enrolled Act 286 (Ind. Code 31-33-24-6) that took effect July 1, charged the DCS with creating the review teams. The agency took the lead in bringing the idea of regional review teams to legislators in 2011, according to a press release from the DCS.
“We’re pleased with this new legislation,” stated John Ryan, DCS chief of staff. “We believe it is a crucial step in holistically preventing child fatalities. Child death review is a multidisciplinary process that can help us better understand why child fatalities occur within the community, and to help us identify how we can prevent future deaths.”
The DCS has sent letters asking county agencies and professional groups to recommend experts to serve on the child fatality review teams. The state agency asked each group to work together within the region to select one representative from each professional discipline and then submit those names to DCS by Sept. 15 for consideration.
Review teams are expected to begin meeting in the fall.