Program Contact

Heidi Hilliard
Michigan Public Health Institute
2465 Woodlake Circle, Suite 100
Okemos, MI 48864
Phone: 517-324-7331
Fax: 517-324-7365


Program Description

The Michigan Child Death Review Program was established by statute (Section 722.627b) in 1997. The program has an annual budget of $639,209 and is funded by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. CDR is managed by the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI). Funding for the program is on a three-year contract cycle. On the state level, 4.3 full-time employees staff the program. There are no paid positions at the local level.

Michigan has 77 county-based review teams and a state-level advisory team.

State Team Chairperson: Colin Parks, CPS Program Office, Department of Health and Human Services
The team consists of 18 members and meets quarterly. They are responsible for reviewing the findings from the local teams and issuing an annual report with recommendations to the governor and legislature. Members of the Michigan Child Death State Advisory Team also serves as the Citizen Review Panel on Child Fatalities with additional ad hoc membership.

Local Teams: (Chairperson – varies)
There are 83 counties in Michigan, all of which participate in child death review. Some counties have regional teams, consisting of two or more counties. Michigan has 77 local-level child death review teams. Frequency of meetings varies by county.

Most of the local Michigan CDR teams review deaths that occur to children age 18 and under. Some only review through age 17. Teams in more populous counties may only review those deaths that fall under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner.

To improve our understanding of how and why children die, to demonstrate the need for and to influence policies and programs to improve child health, safety and protection and to prevent other child deaths.

Key Objectives
1. The accurate identification and uniform reporting of the cause and manner of every child death.
2. Improved communication and linkages among agencies and enhanced coordination of efforts.
3. Improved agency responses to child deaths in the investigation and delivery of services.
4. Improved criminal investigations and improved response of the criminal justice system to child homicides.
5. Implement standardized statewide child death investigative protocols.
6. The identification of needed changes in legislation, policy and practices; and expanded efforts in child health and safety to prevent child deaths.

Michigan is participating in the data collection project with the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention. Case report forms are completed for all reviews, which is not required by state statute or policy. Michigan CDR has access to state vital statistics and uses that information to assess overall child death rates, supplement the CDR data in an annual report, and to respond to data requests. Data is stored electronically in SPSS and is analyzed for qualitative and quantitative information.

Annual Report
Michigan produces an annual report, as required by state statute. The report is distributed to the governor, state legislators, local team members, state agencies, other state child fatality review programs and others as requested.

Prevention Initiatives
CDR findings have led to many local prevention activities such as water safety initiatives, roadway/signage improvements, suicide prevention, infant safe sleep education campaigns, child safety equipment give-a-way programs and others.

CDR findings have also influenced program and policy changes at a state level. Changes include development of a State Suicide Prevention Plan, State Infant Safe Sleep Campaign, revisions of child care licensing rules, improved child passenger safety laws, graduated licensing provisions, the Birth Match program and many other improvements to the child protection system.

Michigan has a variety of protocols in place including confidentiality, security and privacy, child death investigation and CDR meeting process.

Training is provided on an annual basis for local review team members and is funded through program monies. Regional coordinator meetings are held annually, in a number of locations throughout the state. Additional trainings have occurred when funding sources have been available, and have covered topics such as death scene investigation, suicide prevention, and abusive head trauma.

Last Updated: January 2019