The State Child Fatality Review Team systematically analyzes deaths among Virginia’s children, aged 0-17 years, which fall into the following classes:
- Violent and unnatural child deaths
- Sudden deaths occurring in the first 18 months of life
- Fatalities where cause or manner of death was not determined
The Team develops and revises, as necessary, operating procedures for the review of child deaths by:
- Identifying cases to be reviewed and procedures for coordination between agencies and professionals
- Improving the identification, data collection and record keeping of the causes of child death
- Recommending components for prevention and education programs
- Recommending improvements to child death investigation
- Providing training and technical assistance to local child fatality review teams
The Team’s review of a child death is conducted after investigation and prosecution are concluded. Records may be obtained from multiple sources including health care providers, schools, law enforcement agencies, departments of social services, and courts. All information obtained is strictly protected by confidentiality provisions defined in statute. Records and other information on the child and child’s family are not subject to subpoena or discovery and are excluded from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Team members and attendees execute a sworn statement to honor confidentiality. To further ensure confidentiality, meetings discussing individual cases are closed and, at the conclusion of review, records are destroyed. Confidentiality violations are punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Information that is gathered through records and Team meetings may be disclosed only in summary form. After review, the Team develops recommendations and summary data that do not identify individual children. Data are provided to the Governor and the General Assembly. The Team’s review data and recommendations are distributed in published reports, which are available to the public.