Spotlight – North Carolina

State Coordinator:
Kerry Robbins
Child Fatality Case Reviewer/Research Assistant
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
NC Child Fatality Prevention Team
4312 District Drive
Raleigh, NC 27699-3025
Phone: 919-743-9058
Fax: 919-743-9099
Email: Kerry.Robbins@dhhs.nc.gov

Local Teams Coordinator:
Brenda Edwards
North Carolina Division of Public Health
1928 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27599-1928
Phone: 919-707-5623
Fax: 919-870-4882
Email: Brenda.Edwards@dhhs.nc.gov

Website: http://www.ocme.dhhs.nc.gov

Tools

Reports

Mortality Statistics

Program Description

Administration
North Carolina’s Child Fatality Prevention System was established in 1991. The Child Fatality Task Force is the legislative arm of the system and does not conduct reviews, rather receives information and recommendations from the state and local teams. The State Team is staffed through the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and reviews all medical examiner deaths (homicides, suicides, accidents, undetermined and sudden and unexpected deaths). The staff perform the following duties: coordination of the State Team; conducting research and providing data; offering technical assistance to local teams; providing training and education about child deaths and child death investigations and assisting with child death investigations. There are 100 Local Teams, one for each county in North Carolina, that are charged with reviewing all other deaths. The Local Team Coordinator is housed at the State Children & Youth Division. The Local Team Coordinator provides training on policy and procedures to local teams via site visits, webinars and a CFPT manual. The local teams receive minimal funding divided amongst the individual teams with the amount allocated based on the 5 year average of deaths for each county.

Teams
North Carolina has both state and local CDR teams.

State Team:
The team is comprised of a minimum of 11 members and meets monthly.

Local Teams:
There are 100 local teams of 15 members each. The teams are required to meet quarterly, but some meet monthly.

Reviews
North Carolina reviews all fatalities of children under 18 years of age.

Purpose
Through the review of child deaths, our mission is to understand the causes of childhood deaths and identify gaps or deficiencies in services in order to make and implement recommendations for changes to laws, rules and policies to improve the lives and wellbeing of the children in North Carolina.

Data
The State Team provides data annually (and by request) for all accidental deaths, homicides, suicides, deaths in which manner is undetermined and deaths that are sudden and unexpected, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Data on children that die from known natural causes is available through the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics.

Annual Report
The State Team will release an annual report summarizing manners and means of death during the previous year in North Carolina. Special reports and recommendations will continue to be produced throughout the year.

Prevention Initiatives
The Child Fatality Prevention System has been impacting prevention initiative since it began 20 years ago. State examples include the Graduated Driver’s License Law and the enactment of an Infant Homicide Prevention Act and most recently the addition of child death investigation to mandatory basic law enforcement training. Local community examples include increased public education such as signs at beaches in Spanish and a change in policy at local mental health centers regarding follow up when clients miss appointments.

Protocols
North Carolina has a variety of protocols in place including CDR meetings and confidentiality.

Training
Local Team training is provided and is funded through monies allocated for the operation of the local team reviews. State Team training is ongoing as necessary.

Last Updated: February 2019