Program Contact

Rhonda Siegel, MSEd
Maternal and Child Health Section
Bureau of Population Health and Community Services
Division of Public Health Services
NH Department of Health and Human Services
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-4516

Marc Clement, PhD
Chair, State Team
Colby-Sawyer College
723 Pleasant St
New London, NH 03257
Phone: 603-526-6851

Debra A. Samaha, MPH, RN
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center
at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
1 Medical Center Drive
Lebanon, NH 03766
Phone: 603-308-2253

Program Description

In 1991, the Governor signed an Executive Order creating a multi-disciplinary Child Fatality Review Committee (CFRC) in New Hampshire. The program is funded by the New Hampshire Department of Justice through the Children’s Justice Act Grant. The CFRC is housed out of the Department of Justice.

New Hampshire has a state CDR team and a state SUID and SDY team. The state CDR team is the umbrella team for the SUID and SDY team. Select members of the CDR team serve on the SUID and SDY teams along with additional members depending upon the cases being reviewed.

State Team: (Chairperson – Marc Clement)
Members of the Committee include medical, law enforcement, judicial, legal, victim services, public health, mental health, child protection and education representatives. Currently, the Committee has a dual structure consisting of:

  • A full committee, which convenes bimonthly to conduct in-depth reviews of specific cases involving child fatalities. Cases to be reviewed by the Full Committee may be recommended by individual members or agencies.
  • An Executive Committee, which convenes on alternate months to select cases for review, collect data and provide organizational support to the Committee. They invite participants from outside the committee to the reviews who have had direct involvement with the child or family prior to the child’s death.

The New Hampshire Child Fatality Review Committee reviews child deaths up to and including 18 years of age. They do not review cases that have criminal and/or civil matters pending. Case reviews are conducted retrospectively. Cases are not reviewed if they are in court. The Committee also conducts cluster reviews.

In 1995, the Governor signed an Executive Order authorizing the CFRC to have access to all existing records regarding child deaths, including social service reports, court documents, police records, autopsy reports, mental health records, hospital or medical data and other information that may be relevant to the review of a particular child death.

Since 2004, the committee has held joint reviews with other death review teams in the state. For example, the Domestic Violence Review Team, the Elder and Incapacitated Adult Team, and Suicide Prevention Team. This review process has worked very well.

Our state team meets annually with the teams from the other 5 New England states (VT, ME, CT, MA, & RI) at an annual conference to discuss issues that are germane to each of our states. The site of the meeting is rotated between the different states.

The purpose of the New Hampshire CFR Program is prevention.

Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all reviews. New Hampshire CFR has access to state vital statistics. Vital statistics are used to aid the reviews.

Annual Report
New Hampshire produces a report every two years.

Prevention Initiatives
CFR findings have influenced policy changes. Statewide examples include the support of the expansion of “Sudden Death Response Teams”; the encouragement of medical providers to offer up-to-date product safety info to new parents; the review of model legislation pertaining to thrift store product safety; development of bereavement packets to be given to families and many more. An example of how CFR findings have motivated prevention activities is the use of the media to promote education and prevention efforts in accidental deaths. Additional initiatives are highlighted in our biennial reports.

New Hampshire has a review protocol in place.

Training is provided. Attendees have also included representatives from the Canadian Atlantic Provinces.

Last Updated: December 2019