2015-01-06 / Front Page

Owen Among Indiana Counties To Established A Child Death Review

Staff Report

Owen is among 79 of the state’s 92 counties to have established a local or regional child fatality review team following a new Indiana law that took effect last year. Review teams or committees are tasked with determining why a child died and to help determine possible steps to prevent future incidents.

Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere advised that, since July 1, 2013, Owen County has worked with local agencies and surrounding counties to form a child fatality committee. The committee consists of the prosecuting attorney, the county coroner or deputy coroner, and representatives from the local health department, Department of Child Services (DCS), and law enforcement. The child fatality committee is responsible for selecting members to serve on a local or regional child fatality review team.

The child fatality review team is tasked with the responsibility of reviewing all deaths of children under the age of 18 that are sudden, unexpected or unexplained, all deaths that are assessed by DCS, and all deaths that are determined to be the result of homicide, suicide, accident, or are undetermined.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, seven counties are working to implement a team or have an unverified committee. Teams have yet to be established in six others, including Clark, Floyd, Fulton, Orange, Pike and Spencer counties.

The state law puts county prosecutors in charge of creating the review teams – and some prosecutors say the teams will help them identify trends in how children are dying.

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