Child deaths are often regarded as an indicator of the health of a community. While mortality data provide us with an overall picture of child deaths (by number and cause), it is from a careful study of each and every child’s death that we can learn how best to respond to a death and how best to prevent another.
Recognizing the need to better understand why children die, the Ohio General Assembly passed Substitute House Bill Number 448 (HB 448) in July, 2000, mandating Child Fatality Review (CFR) Boards in each of Ohio’s counties (or regions) to review the deaths of children under eighteen years of age.
The ultimate purpose of the local review boards, as clearly described in the law, is to reduce the incidence of preventable child deaths. To accomplish this, it is expected that local review boards will:
Promote cooperation, collaboration and communication between all groups that serve families and children;
Maintain a database of all child deaths to develop an understanding of the causes and incidence of those deaths;
Recommend and develop plans for implementing local service and program changes; and advise the department of health of aggregate data, trends and patterns found in child deaths.
Ohio Department of Health
Child Fatality Review Program
246 North High Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Child Fatality Review (CFR) boards are required to implement a data collection system for child death reviews. A national Web-based information system for CFR is available for local boards to input their child death data. CFR boards are able to enter data on each child death reviewed on this secure Internet site. CFR boards are then able to access reports and download their own data for analysis.
ORC § 3701.045(A) states that the Ohio Department of Health, in consultation with the Children’s Trust Fund Board and the CFR boards in existence prior to the law, shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 119 of the Revised Code that establish a procedure for Child Fatality Review Boards to follow in conducting a review of the death of a child.
The report shall organize and set forth the data contained in all reports provided by CFR boards in their annual reports from the previous calendar year. The report shall also contain any recommended changes to law and policy that might prevent future deaths.