Spotlight – South Carolina

Eboni Whitehurst, State Child Fatality Advisory Committee Coordinator
Division of Injury and Violence Prevention
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
2100 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-896-2280
E-mail: whitehe@dhec.sc.gov

Tools

Reports

Mortality Statistics

Program Description

Administration
The State Child Fatality Advisory Committee (SCFAC) was enacted in 1993, and is mandated by S.C. Code 63-11-1950 to identify patterns in child fatalities that will guide efforts by agencies, communities and individuals to decrease the number of preventable child deaths.

As defined by S.C. Code 63-11-1910 and S.C. Code 17-5-540 a “child” means a person less than eighteen years of age. Any child death under the age of 18 is investigated when the death is unexpected and unexplained including, but not limited to, possible sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as a result of violence, when unattended by a physician or when occurring in any unusual or suspicious manner.

Note: The Committee does not review motor vehicle traffic deaths except those that occur on private property or incidents involving a pedestrian. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) does investigate all motor vehicle traffic deaths.

The intent of the child fatality review process is to decrease the incidence of preventable child deaths and make the public more aware of intentional and unintentional child deaths.

Teams
State Team:

Susan Lamb, MD, Chair-person
State Child Fatality Advisory Committee
Email: susan.lamb@scdmh.org

Michael Greene, Captain
Special Victim’s Unit/Investigative Services
State Law Enforcement Division
Email: mgreen@sled.sc.gov

Owens Goff, Division Director
Division of Injury & Violence Prevention
Email: gofflo@dhec.sc.gov

Eboni Whitehurst, SCFAC Coordinator
Division of Injury & Violence Prevention
Email: whitehe@dhec.sc.gov

The State Child Fatality Advisory Committee (SCFAC) is staffed by the State Law Enforcement Division’s (SLED’s), Special Victim’s Unit – Investigative Program. The SCFAC membership follows child fatality review (CFR) meeting, confidentiality and child/infant death investigation protocols, with standardized data reporting forms completed for all reviews. The SCFAC holds regular meetings during the months of February, April, June, August, October and December.

The SCFAC current membership consists of representatives from:

  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • Department of Education
  • SC Criminal Justice Academy
  • Department of Mental Health
  • Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Department of Disabilities and Special Needs
  • SC Attorney General Office
  • SC Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics
  • SC Children’s Trust Fund
  • Ninth Circuit Solicitor
  • County Coroner or Medical Examiner
  • Forensic Pathologist
  • State Law Enforcement Division
  • SC Senate
  • SC House of Representatives
  • SC Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (Public)
  • SC Crime Victims’ Council (Public)

Efforts by the SCFAC to obtain a better understanding of the causes of child death through a review of unexpected or unexplained child deaths help implementing changes within the agencies represented, and provide recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on statutory, policy and practice changes, which will prevent future child deaths.

Local Teams
South Carolina consists of 46-county areas with each having an elected Coroner. Each Coroner Office independently reviews each child fatality in coordination with local law enforcement partner organization, with many engaging voluntary Children’s Health and Safety or Child Death Review Teams.

The SCFAC’s goal is to have a standing Child Fatality Team (at a minimum) functioning in each of the state’s sixteen-(16) judicial circuit areas, with each team composed of a standard group of members and using a standardized child fatality review tool; Child Death Review Case Report, National MCH Center for Child Death Review. The gold standard would be for each child fatality team to be comprised of a representative from: the Coroner Office, Law Enforcement, SLED SVU Agent, CA Prosecutor, Social Services, Medical, Public Health, Mental Health, Alcohol & Drug Abuse, and Education.

Last Updated: February 2018