Program Contact

Anar Shah, MPH
Child Death Review & Prevention Coordinator
Washington State Department of Health
Office of Family and Community Health Improvement
P.O. Box 47835
Olympia, Washington 98504-7835
Phone: 360-236-3748
Fax: 360-236-3533


Program Description


  • State law (RCW 70.05.170) authorizes Local Health Jurisdictions to conduct child death reviews so that “preventable causes of child mortality” can be identified and addressed. Local Health Jurisdictions are not required to conduct child death reviews.
  • State law (RCW 70.05.170) requires the Department of Health to:
    • Assist LHJs in collecting CDR data and entering it into a database
    • Respond to requests for CDR data and share the data to the extent allowable by law
    • Provide technical assistance to LHJs and CDR coordinators
    • Encourage communication among CDR teams
  • Conduct these activities using only federal and private funding
  • In addition to the activities required by law, the Department of Health:
    • Serves as a liaison between LHJs and the National Center for Child Death Review, which hosts the multi-state CDR database
    • Analyzes CDR data for program planning, evaluation, and reports
    • Maintains an electronic mailing list (listserv) to share information with CDR coordinators, CDR team members, and other stakeholders
  • The Department of Health funds this work through the federal Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.

Currently, Washington has 7 local CDR teams which are conducted by local public health jurisdictions.

Washington CDR teams provide retrospective reviews of all unexpected deaths to children age 17 and under except deaths due to extreme prematurity.

The purpose and focus of the Washington CDR process is prevention, not investigation.

Washington State CDR teams participate in the national data collection system administered by National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths (Michigan Public Health Institute). The State Department of Health provides technical assistance and quarterly data quality/data cleaning.

Annual Report
Washington produces specialized data reports but no annual report. These reports are distributed to a broad range of stakeholders.

Prevention Initiatives
The State Department of Health and local CDR teams are involved in many prevention initiatives. Our Governor issued an executive order on gun safety, including the implementation of a State Suicide Prevention Plan. The State Department of Health is the lead for the implementation of this Plan. We also have a suicide prevention grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Several local CDR teams have been involved in gun safety and safe sleep campaigns. We work with Safe Kids Washington at state and local levels to promote child safety.

Local CDR teams are encouraged to follow the protocols in the Program Manual for Child Death Review developed by the National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths. Confidentiality and data use protocols are outlined in Data Use Agreements with the Michigan Public Health Institute.

The State Department of Health maintains an email list to share information related to Child Death Review and convenes conference calls every other month for local CDR Coordinators. Topics on the conference calls include state and local updates, safe sleep and suicide prevention.

Last Updated: March 2019