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Recommendations From Child Fatality Review Teams: Results of a US Nationwide Exploratory Study Concerning Maltreatment Fatalities and Social Service Delivery

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 17 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2008 Pages: 331-351
Emily M. Douglas; Jennifer M. Cunningham
Date Published
September 2008
21 pages
This study reviewed reports from multidisciplinary child fatality review teams (CFRT) in the United States in order to compile and evaluate the identification of problems and recommendations by professionals regarding child maltreatment fatalities, with attention to the context in which recommendations are made.
The most commonly cited CFRT recommendation throughout the States that have such teams (nearly every State does) is to increase public education about the threats to children, with attention to general parent education, safe sleeping environments, fire safety, motor vehicle-related neglect, and shaken baby syndrome. Public education is believed by the CFRTs to be an important prevention tool and has contributed to the decline of a number of social problems. Changes to and improvements in child death investigations were also often cited in CFRT reports, with a focus on increased training and changes in protocol regarding investigations and autopsy procedure. Another often-cited recommendation was improvement in child welfare agencies’ assessments and identification of risk factors. Training was also recommended for various professional child caretakers, such as childcare workers and foster parents, the supervision of child welfare workers, home visitors and domestic-violence workers, health care providers, and mental health service providers. Other frequently cited areas in the CFRT recommendations are improved communication within the child-welfare professions, improved protocols for CFRTs, mandatory reporting of child maltreatment, and changes in the child welfare system. Data collection for this study was conducted between September 2006 and February 2007. In order to examine the recommendations of review teams, all recent CFRT reports published in the United States between 2000-07 were collected and reviewed (n=37), with only 29 providing recommendations concerning child maltreatment. 5 tables and 71 references