Spotlight – District of Columbia

Tracie T. Martin
Senior Fatality Review Program Specialist
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
at the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory
401 E. Street SW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: 202-698-9024
Fax: 202-698-9102
Email: tracie.martin@dc.gov

Website:http://obc.dc.gov/obc/cwp/view,a,3,q,521195.asp#childfatality

Program Description

Administration
The District of Columbia Child Fatality Review (CFR) Committee was established in 1992 by a Mayor Executive Order (D.C. Act 14-40). The team began reviewing cases in 1993. The program is housed out of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Funding for the program comes from District of Columbia appropriations. There are three full time employees that staff the program.

Teams
The District has two teams (Co-Chairs Dr. Roger A. Mitchell, Jr. and Cynthia Wright, Esq.) with approximately 35 members. The committee is required to have two chairs. The Mayor appoints members to the committee. Eight public members from the community are members who are recommended from each ward council. Other members include two schools of social work from colleges/universities in DC, one physician from each DC hospital, either from Child Protective Services or Pediatric Services Department, and the Consortium of Child Welfare or a private child welfare program. Ex-officio members include the head of designee from 16 agencies/ institution /committees. The committee has two case review teams that meet twice a month; Child Fatality Review and the Infant Mortality Review Teams.

Reviews
The DC CFR Committee reviews deaths to all causes to children from birth through 18 years. The Committee can choose to review cases beyond this range (through age 25 years) if the child was known to Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare or the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Systems.

Purpose
The purpose of the DC CFR Committee is to prevent child deaths and improve child, youth and family service delivery systems.

Data
Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all reviews. This is required by policy. Data is stored and analyzed using Microsoft Access. Excel is used to create spreadsheets on CFR findings.

Annual Report
The DC CFR Committee is required to produce an annual report. The report is compiled one year after the end of the calendar year. The report is available to the public and is distributed to the Mayor and committee members.

Prevention Initiatives
Findings from the CFR Committee have influenced policy and practice changes. (Example: the Committee worked with the police department in establishing a child death investigation unit. The detectives in this unit receive specialized training.)

Protocols
The DC CFR has meeting and confidentiality protocols in place.

Training
Training is offered to new members on the review process. The staff of the CFR program provides this training.

Last Updated: March 2018