Spotlight – Wisconsin

Karen Nash
Project Manager
Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 1111
West Allis, WI 53214
Phone: 414-337-4567
Fax: 414-266-4876

Amy Parry, MPH
Data Project Manager
Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 1111
West Allis, WI 53214
Phone: 414-337-4568
Fax: 414-266-4876


Program Description

Wisconsin’s Child Death Review (CDR) Program was established in 1998. There are no statutes or rules promulgated for CDR in Wisconsin. The state CDR Council is housed within the Department of Health Services (DHS) with additional funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Children’s Justice Act grant program. Wisconsin is a member of the Midwest Coalition on Child Death Review.

Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin was created as the comprehensive CDR state program and grew significantly through a three year grant funded by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Wisconsin Partnership Program (2008 – 2011). This grant was awarded to Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (Alliance), in partnership with the Injury Research Center at the Medical Center of Wisconsin. Efforts under Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin include: development of local CDR teams in Wisconsin counties, support legislation for CDR activities, and increased data collection and analysis. Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin: Child Death Review Team Guidelines provides counties with step by step assistance on how to organize and implement a CDR team. Additional technical assistance related to data collection and prevention is also available to teams. Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin continues today under partnership and contractual agreement between DHS and Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin with funding from Title V MCH, the Wisconsin Department of Justine Children’s Justice Act and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wisconsin also participates in the CDC funded SUID and SDY projects. These projects are carried out through a partnership between the Alliance, Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin DHS. The goal of these projects is to ensure all unexplained infant and child deaths are comprehensively reviewed by local teams to ensure good quality data is collected and prevention efforts can be informed.

Wisconsin has both state and local CDR teams.

State team: The Wisconsin Child Death Review Council, chaired by Doug Kelly, MD will only review cases when a local team is not in place where the death occurred, or a local team requests a review. The Council is comprised of 24 members and meets four times per year. The Council has five primary goals:

  1. Advise the legislature and state agencies on the need for modifications to law, policy or practice.
  2. Educate the public regarding the incidence and causes of child deaths, and specific steps the public can take to prevent future deaths.
  3. Identify training needs and make training resources available to professional organizations, advocacy groups and others statewide.
  4. Facilitate the development of local/regional CDR teams.
  5. Influence local teams to cultivate community prevention.

Local Teams:
Local CDR teams are county-based. There are 57 local CDR teams in Wisconsin. There are 8 Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) teams in Wisconsin.

Local CDR teams acknowledge and review all deaths to children under the age of 18. CDR teams are encouraged to follow the model proposed in Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin: Child Death Review Team Guidelines. This model is based on the Maternal Child Health (MCH) National Center for Child Death Review framework.

Local FIMR teams review fetal and infant deaths that meet the FIMR criteria. All Wisconsin review teams are working toward increasing communication and collaboration.

The primary purpose of the Wisconsin CDR program is to prevent future deaths. Local CDR teams strive to uncover the risk factors and circumstances contributing to the death of a child. Local teams utilize the information to target prevention activities.

Wisconsin urges all local CDR and FIMR teams to enter data into the National MCH CDR Case Reporting System. Technical assistance is available to local teams to assist with database training, access and data analysis.

Annual Report
Wisconsin has produced a report on sudden, unexplained infant deaths in 2015. An update of the SUID report was released in 2016. A new report was released in 2017.

Prevention Initiatives
Several local CDR teams are partnering with community organizations to implement prevention activities.

Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin: Death Review Team Guidelines have been developed and are available online at Hard copies can be obtained by contacting Karen Nash at (414) 337-4567 or

Annual statewide training occurs every fall, bringing together most local review teams. This training focuses on improving quality of reviews, sharing new information and networking. Regional and local trainings are held yearly.

Last Updated: March 2018