State Child Fatality Review in Virginia

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The Virginia State Child Fatality Review Team is unique when compared with child death review processes in other states.  Virginia’s Team does not review every child death every year, but instead chooses a specific type of child death on which to focus its review. Reviews typically cover child deaths from certain causes or manners of death or injury patterns. The Team is tasked with developing recommendations for prevention, education and improved child death investigation.

Membership of the multi-disciplinary team is defined in statute and includes physicians and representatives from state and local agencies who provide services to families and children or who may be involved in the investigation of child deaths. The Team also appoints special advisors whose areas of specialization provide additional insight to the Team.

The Team is chaired by the Chief Medical Examiner and includes the following persons or their designees:

  • Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
  • Program Manager for Child Protective Services, Virginia Department of Social Services
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • State Registrar of Vital Records
  • Director of Criminal Justice Services

One representative from each of the following is appointed by the Governor to serve for three-year terms:

  • Local law enforcement agencies
  • Local fire departments
  • Local departments of social services
  • Medical Society of Virginia
  • Virginia College of Emergency Physicians
  • Virginia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Local emergency medical services providers
  • Attorneys for the Commonwealth
  • Community services boards

In addition, special advisors are appointed to the Team based upon their area of expertise and include representatives from:

  • Child advocacy
  • Child psychiatry
  • Forensic pathology
  • Public health
  • Juvenile justice
  • Toxicology