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Legal Resources | Penal Code |  PC  11174.34  

Child Death Review Teams   

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(a) (1) The purpose of this section shall be to coordinate and integrate state and local efforts to address fatal child abuse or neglect, and to create a body of information to prevent child deaths.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the California State Child Death Review Council, the Department of Justice, the State Department of Social Services, the State Department of Health Services, and state and local child death review teams shall share data and other information necessary from the Department of Justice Child Abuse Central Index and Supplemental Homicide File, the State Department of Health Services Vital Statistics and the Department of Social Services Child Welfare Services/Case Management System files to establish accurate information on the nature and extent of child abuse- or neglect-related fatalities in California as those documents relate to child fatality cases. Further, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that records of child abuse- or neglect-related fatalities are entered into the State Department of Social Services, Child Welfare Services/Case Management System. It is also the intent that training and technical assistance be provided to child death review teams and professionals in the child protection system regarding multiagency case review.

(b) (1) It shall be the duty of the California State Child Death Review Council to oversee the statewide coordination and integration of state and local efforts to address fatal child abuse or neglect and to create a body of information to prevent child deaths. The Department of Justice, the State Department of Social Services, the State Department of Health Care Services, the California Coroner?s Association, the County Welfare Directors Association, Prevent Child Abuse California, the California Homicide Investigators Association, the Office of Emergency Services, the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect/National Center on Child Fatality Review, the California Conference of Local Health Officers, the California Conference of Local Directors of Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health, the California Conference of Local Health Department Nursing Directors, the California District Attorneys Association, and at least three regional representatives, chosen by the other members of the council, working collaboratively for the purposes of this section, shall be known as the California State Child Death Review Council. The council shall select a chairperson or cochairpersons from the members.

(2) The Department of Justice is hereby authorized to carry out the purposes of this section by coordinating council activities and working collaboratively with the agencies and organizations in paragraph (1), and may consult with other representatives of other agencies and private organizations, to help accomplish the purpose of this section.

(c) Meetings of the agencies and organizations involved shall be convened by a representative of the Department of Justice. All meetings convened between the Department of Justice and any organizations required to carry out the purpose of this section shall take place in this state. There shall be a minimum of four meetings per calendar year.

(d) To accomplish the purpose of this section, the Department of Justice and agencies and organizations involved shall engage in the following activities:

(1) Analyze and interpret state and local data on child death in an annual report to be submitted to local child death review teams with copies to the Governor and the Legislature, no later than July 1 each year. Copies of the report shall also be distributed to public officials in the state who deal with child abuse issues and to those agencies responsible for child death investigation in each county. The report shall contain, but not be limited to, information provided by state agencies and the county child death review teams for the preceding year.

The state data shall include the Department of Justice Child Abuse Central Index and Supplemental Homicide File, the State Department of Health Services Vital Statistics, and the State Department of Social Services Child Welfare Services/Case Management System.

(2) In conjunction with the Office of Emergency Services, coordinate statewide and local training for county death review teams and the members of the teams, including, but not limited to, training in the application of the interagency child death investigation protocols and procedures established under Sections 11166.7 and 11166.8 to identify child deaths associated with abuse or neglect.

(e) The State Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the California State Child Death Review Council, shall design, test and implement a statewide child abuse or neglect fatality tracking system incorporating information collected by local child death review teams. The department shall:

(1) Establish a minimum case selection criteria and review protocols of local child death review teams.

(2) Develop a standard child death review form with a minimum core set of data elements to be used by local child death review teams, and collect and analyze that data.

(3) Establish procedural safeguards in order to maintain appropriate confidentiality and integrity of the data.

(4) Conduct annual reviews to reconcile data reported to the State Department of Health Services Vital Statistics, Department of Justice Homicide Files and Child Abuse Central Index, and the State Department of Social Services Child Welfare Services/Case Management System data systems, with data provided from local child death review teams.

(5) Provide technical assistance to local child death review teams in implementing and maintaining the tracking system.

(6) This subdivision shall become operative on July 1, 2000, and shall be implemented only to the extent that funds are appropriated for its purposes in the Budget Act.

(f) Local child death review teams shall participate in a statewide child abuse or neglect fatalities monitoring system by:

(1) Meeting the minimum standard protocols set forth by the State Department of Public Health in collaboration with the California State Child Death Review Council.

(2) Using the standard data form to submit information on child abuse or neglect fatalities in a timely manner established by the State Department of Public Health.

(g) The California State Child Death Review Council shall monitor the implementation of the monitoring system and incorporate the results and findings of the system and review into an annual report.

(h) The Department of Justice shall direct the creation, maintenance, updating, and distribution electronically and by paper, of a statewide child death review team directory, which shall contain the names of the members of the agencies and private organizations participating under this section, and the members of local child death review teams and local liaisons to those teams. The department shall work in collaboration with members of the California State Child Death Review Council to develop a directory of professional experts, resources, and information from relevant agencies and organizations and local child death review teams, and to facilitate regional working relationships among teams. The Department of Justice shall maintain and update these directories annually.

(i) The agencies or private organizations participating under this section shall participate without reimbursement from the state. Costs incurred by participants for travel or per diem shall be borne by the participant agency or organization. The participants shall be responsible for collecting and compiling information to be included in the annual report. The Department of Justice shall be responsible for printing and distributing the annual report using available funds and existing resources.

(j) The Office of Emergency Services, in coordination with the State Department of Social Services, the Department of Justice, and the California State Child Death Review Council shall contract with state or nationally recognized organizations in the area of child death review to conduct statewide training and technical assistance for local child death review teams and relevant organizations, develop standardized definitions for fatal child abuse or neglect, develop protocols for the investigation of fatal child abuse or neglect, and address relevant issues such as grief and mourning, data collection, training for medical personnel in the identification of child abuse or neglect fatalities, domestic violence fatality review, and other related topics and programs. The provisions of this subdivision shall only be implemented to the extent that the agency can absorb the costs of implementation within its current funding, or to the extent that funds are appropriated for its purposes in the Budget Act.

(k) Law enforcement and child welfare agencies shall cross-report all cases of child death suspected to be related to child abuse or neglect whether or not the deceased child has any known surviving siblings.

(l) County child welfare agencies shall create a record in the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS) on all cases of child death suspected to be related to child abuse or neglect, whether or not the deceased child has any known surviving siblings. Upon notification that the death was determined not to be related to child abuse or neglect, the child welfare agency shall enter that information into the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 352, Sec. 422.)