Spotlight – Pennsylvania

Christina Phillips
Department of Health; Bureau of Family Health
Health & Welfare Bldg
7th Floor East Wing
625 Forster Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717.547.3383
Fax: 717.772.0323
Email: christiphi@pa.gov

Angelo Santore
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Health and Welfare Building, 7th Floor East Wing
625 Forster St.
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-772-2762
Fax: 717-772-0323
Email: ansantore@pa.gov

Website: Pennsylvania Child Death Review

Program Description

Administration
Pennsylvania’s CDR Program was established in November 1994. It began as a pilot study without legislation. In October 2008, Pennsylvania passed a law mandating child death reviews. The program has an annual budget of approximately $160,000 and is funded by the Department of Health. The program is housed out of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Family Health. There are 1.75 employees at the state level that staff the program.

Teams
Pennsylvania has both a state team and local teams.

State Team:
The team is comprised of selected members and representation from a variety of disciplines.

Local Teams:
Pennsylvania has 64 local review teams. All 67 counties in the state participate on state and/or local teams. Teams do not receive any funding from the state.

Reviews
Pennsylvania CDR teams review all deaths of children from birth through their 21st year. There are approximately 2,000 deaths each year. At this time team are reviewing approximately 75% of all child deaths.

Purpose
Pennsylvania Child Death Review has a focus on prevention. This activity is accomplished by identifying factors which cause a risk for injury and death, including modifiable risk factors; making recommendations regarding the improvement of health and safety policies in the Commonwealth and coordinating services and investigations. Local teams make recommendations relating to the procedures and other actions to local agencies to reduce injury and death of children.

Data
Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all reviews. The Pennsylvania Public Health Child Death Review Act states that local team shall utilize the National Fatality Review Case Reporting System to report its findings in accordance with the established protocol.

Annual Report
Pennsylvania produces an annual report that is submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly by September of each year. The report includes summary of reports received by local child death review teams and recommendations relating to the reduction of risk of child injury and death. Annual reports are posted on both the PA Department Health website.

Prevention Initiatives
Examples of how CDR findings have motivated prevention activities include local projects that are developed and implemented by local teams and their community prevention partners.

Suicide Prevention: PA CDRT will continued provide support to Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative.

Safe Sleep: Recommendations continue to encourage CDR teams to collaborate with key stakeholders within their communities.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) Case Registry: This project focuses on infants deaths related to the sleep environment and focuses on efforts to prevent future deaths.

Protocols
Pennsylvania CDR has confidentiality protocols in place.

Training
Training is provided annually on an as-needed basis to all CDR teams. All CDR members are invited to attend an annual meeting and regional meetings each year.

Last Updated: February 2018