U.S. Child Death Review Programs

Assessing Progress Toward a Standard Review Process


      Child death review (CDR) programs examine the circumstances of children's deaths to gain information on how and why children die for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, and protection of children.


      The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the 50 states and District of Columbia CDR programs, with specific focus on the use of standardized procedures and best-practice recommendations. This included assessment of which deaths are reviewed, the model of review, team membership, and standardization of data collection and reporting.


      Data were collected through semistructured phone interviews with representatives of the 50 states and District of Columbia CDR programs and online sources. Data collection and analyses were conducted in 2009.


      Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have active CDR programs at the state and/or local level, and the majority use a national data collection system. However, results revealed numerous inconsistencies across programs in policies, procedures, and data collection.


      This study reflects the minimal progress that has been made in the CDR process in the U.S. since the last systematic review of the programs in 2001. The study documents substantial discrepancies among the U.S. CDR programs, affecting the consistency of data obtained by individual states and, ultimately, prevention efforts at the national level. Information from this review can inform CDR programs as they develop and refine procedures and guide future research on the effectiveness and limitations of variations in procedures.
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      Linked Article

      • A Misdirected Assessment of Progress in Child Death Review
        American Journal of Preventive MedicineVol. 40Issue 5
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          We appreciate the attention given to child death review teams (CDRTs) in “U.S. Child Death Review Programs: Assessing Progress Toward a Standard Review Process” by Shanley et al.1 The authors highlight inconsistencies among child death review programs in the U.S. and conclude that there has been “minimal progress” in CDRT since 2001. This is a misdirected assessment. The benchmarks used by the authors define progress as all states reviewing all child deaths and conducting local reviews with state oversight.
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