Established in 1996 per statute (section 211.680 et seq.), Kentucky’s Child Fatality Review Program works to identify child deaths for review and evaluation to inform program policy and prevention efforts. The CFR program is organizationally located in the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Division, Department for Public Health. Kentucky is part of the Southeast Coalition on Child Fatalities.
MCH Title V Block Grant provides funding for the annual budget of $418,500. Kentucky has a SUID case registry funded by the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) Case Registry Grant. Local health departments receive an allocation of $1,000 per county to assist with costs of child death reviews and prevention activities. Staffing for the program is
- Full time nurse consultant inspector
- Full time administrative/data entry assistant
Additional program support is provided from the Chief Medical Examiner, an epidemiologist and the SUID case registry program
Kentucky has both state and local teams, which are not mandated.
State Team Chairperson: Dr. Christina Howard
The team is comprised of approximately 30 additional members representing diverse agencies and meets every other month to discuss prevention activities and initiatives.
The chairperson at the local level is the County Coroner. Kentucky has 120 counties. One hundred and five counties have teams conducting child death reviews for approximately 74% of the counties, with two additional counties preparing. Fifteen additional counties are actively preparing local review teams. Teams are comprised of six to ten multidisciplinary members. Technical support is provided for local teams by the State CFR nurse consultant/inspector.
Local teams review coroner cases for children under 18 years of age. Any cases suspicious of abuse or neglect are forwarded for additional review to the Kentucky Child Death Fatality and Near Fatality External Panel. The Kentucky State Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) Team reviews SUID cases that are not reviewed at a local level.
The goal of the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Child Fatality Review (CFR) Program is ultimately to decrease child deaths through prevention efforts. Review of aggregate data from vital statistics is used to identify trends and emerging issues in preventable fatalities. Using data driven best practice programming, the goal is to reduce child death rates by:
- Facilitating the development of local child fatality review teams, which may include training opportunities and technical assistance;
- Developing and distributing model protocols for local child fatality review teams that investigate child fatalities;
- Reviewing and approving local protocols prepared and submitted by local teams;
- Analyzing data regarding child fatalities to identify trends, patterns and risk factors;
- Evaluating the effectiveness of adopted prevention and intervention strategies;
- Making recommendations regarding state programs, legislation, administrative regulations, policies, budgets, and treatment and service standards, which may facilitate the development of strategies for the prevention and reduction of the number of child deaths; and
- Promoting services and resources for bereavement to families and communities through the local health departments.
Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all reviews as required by state statute. Electronic and hard copy data files are stored securely. The CFR program has access to vital statistics records including electronic transmission of data from the electronic death registration system, coroner’s reports, and other sources.
Kentucky produces an annual CFR report based on the calendar year that is data driven and highlights prevention efforts from stakeholders. The report is distributed to selected government officials, Department for Public Health staff, local health departments, coroners and others upon request.
In 2019, a total of 99.4% of child fatalities identified as reviewable were reviewed. CFR findings influence policy changes in Kentucky. Statewide examples include booster seat and graduated driver’s license legislation and the provision of educational materials to prevent pediatric abusive head trauma to birthing hospitals in Kentucky. CFR findings were pivotal in the development of a Safe Sleep campaign (safesleepky.org).
Kentucky has protocols in place including confidentiality, and recommendations for the composition of local teams. The Kentucky CFR program recommends that all teams follow the recommendations from the National Center for Child Death Review.
Kentucky CFR coordinates all program oversight and provides technical support and training to local health department staff and coroners. Training is available upon request from other agencies and organizations.
Last Updated: January 2019