Texas Child Fatality Review

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About Texas Child Fatality Review

In 1995, Texas law makers formed the State Child Fatality Review Team (SCFRT) Committee. Counties could form local and regional Child Fatality Review Teams (CFRTs) as well. Senate Bill 6, page 61 amended sections of the Family Code Chapter 264 Subchapter F. The law moved support and coordination of CFRTs from the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).  

The Office of Injury Prevention facilitates the SCFRT Committee. The committee works with local CFRTs to provide recommendations about injury prevention activities such as drowning prevention and motor vehicle safety. These recommendations relate to modifying current legislation, increasing public education, and determining feasibility of strengthening systems.  

This committee reports aggregate child fatality data collected by local CFRTs and recommends strategies to prevent child fatalities and injuries. The committee provides recommendations to the Texas Legislature and the DFPS child safety review subcommittee on child protective services operations. The child safety review subcommittee is an internal DFPS committee that meets quarterly to discuss recommendations to improve DFPS practices and prevent child deaths. The report is made to the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives no later than April 1 of each even-numbered year.  

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigation Reporting Form

National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention Guidance

State Child Fatality Review Team Committee

Child Fatality Review Teams

Reports, Protocols, and Guidelines

Helpful Websites

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigation Reporting Form

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigation Reporting Form (SUIDIRF). The SUIDIRF is a voluntary tool for states and jurisdictions to use and allows investigators to document their findings easily and consistently. As a result, the SUIDIRF produces information to better understand sudden unexpected infant death and inform efforts to prevent future deaths.  

In collaboration with stakeholders, CDC reduced redundancy and streamlined the form, reordered and retitled sections, and updated questions to address emerging issues. The revised SUIDIRF has been endorsed by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, the National Association of Medical Examiners, and the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

View the revised SUIDIRF on the CDC’s website.  

New National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention Guidance

The National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention (NCFRP) released a guidance document with tips and strategies for reviewing deaths either directly or indirectly related to COVID-19.

  • A directly-related death is defined as a death directly attributable to the virus.
  • Indirectly-related death occurs when unsafe or unhealthy conditions are present during any phase of a crisis.  

We acknowledge the importance of documenting the impact of the COVID-19 health emergency on fetal, infant, and child mortality. We hope that this information will help fatality review teams use their findings from review of such deaths to inform national emergency response efforts about the needs of infants, children, and families who are directly and indirectly impacted by future public health emergencies.  

COVID-19 Guidance (NCFRP.org) - https://www.ncfrp.org/wp-content/uploads/NCRPCD-Docs/COVID-19_Guidance.pdf

State Child Fatality Review Team Committee

The State Child Fatality Review Team (SCFRT) Committee is a group of experts (PDF) throughout Texas. They want to reduce the number of preventable child deaths. The committee has three goals:

  • Understand the causes and incidence of child deaths in Texas;
  • Identify procedures for agencies to reduce the number of preventable child deaths; and,
  • Promote public awareness and make recommendations to the governor and the legislature. Changes in law, policy, and practice can reduce the number of preventable child deaths.  

The next SCFRT meeting will take place virtually on Friday, August 20, 2021 at 10:00 am (CT). A virtual link will be provided once the agenda and meeting logistics are finalized. Recordings of past SCFRT Committee meeting can be found on the Texas Health and Human Services websiteThe vote for open positions will take place at the August SCFRT Committee meeting. DSHS will notify applicants by Sept. 3, 2021 if they have been selected.   

About the State Child Fatality Review Team Committee

The State Child Fatality Review Team (SCFRT) Committee was created by Texas Family Code 264.501 to develop an understanding of the causes and incidences of child death in Texas; identify procedures within agencies represented on the committee to reduce the number of preventable child deaths; and promote public awareness and make recommendations to the governor and legislature for changes in law, policy and practice to reduce the number of preventable child deaths. The committee must produce a formal biennial report that includes recommendations to the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The biennial report shall be made available to the public and include information on the incidence and causes of child fatalities.  

A committee member must regularly participate in committee meetings and may also have to participate in subcommittee meetings, projects, and presentations. Committee meetings will be held at least four times annually  or at the call of the committee chair. Members must travel to Austin for in-person meetings unless the SCFRT Committee meets virtually. Committee members may receive reimbursement for travel expenses to participate on the committee.  

For more information about the committee or about applying to be on the committee, email cfrt@dshs.texas.gov.  

Child Fatality Review Teams  

Local Child Fatality Review Teams (CFRTs) are working groups of community partners. They review child deaths on a local level from a public health perspective. Reviewing a child’s death helps identify strategies to decrease preventable child deaths. Local CFRTs:

  • Provide help, direction, and coordination to investigations of child deaths;
  • Promote collaboration among agencies involved in responding to child fatalities;
  • Try to understand the causes and incidence of child deaths in their county or counties;
  • Recommend changes to policy or procedures that will reduce preventable deaths; and,
  • Suggest changes to law, policy, or practice to the State CFRT.  

Texas CFRTs (PDF) vary in size and the number of counties for which they review child deaths. Some teams review deaths for only one county while regional teams review deaths for two or more counties. The largest number of counties a single Texas team covers is 26.  

Texas seeks to have CFRTs in all parts of Texas. See the coverage on the Texas Map (PDF). If you are interested in learning more about child fatality review efforts in your area, please contact cfrt@dshs.texas.gov.  

Reports, Protocols, and Guidelines

Texas Child Fatality Data and Recommendations - April 2020
Texas Child Fatality Data and Recommendations 2018 (PDF)
Child Fatality Review Team Operating Procedures (PDF)
Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation Reporting Form (PDF)
How to Use the SUIDI Reporting Form (PDF)

Helpful Websites

National Center for Fatality Review & Prevention Case Reporting System
National MCH Center for Child Death Review
ICAN National Center on Child Fatality Review
National Center for Fatality Review & Prevention
Includes web-based training modules covering various aspects of fatality review. Half of the training modules focus on process work such as FIMR 101, CDR 101 and conducting maternal interviews. The other half of the training modules cover best practices such as facilitating successful fatality review meetings, incorporating health equity into fatality review and writing recommendations.

CDC - Sudden, Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Includes Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigations (SUIDI), the SUIDI data collection form and SUIDI training materials.

National Clearinghouse of Child Abuse and Neglect
Department of Family and Protective Services, Child Protective Services (CPS)
Shaken Baby Alliance
SIDS Network

 

For more information about child fatality review in Texas, please contact us at:

Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 776-7373: Phone
(512) 458-7658: Fax
cfrt@dshs.texas.gov

 

The Texas Department of State Health Services does not endorse external links to other websites. These links are informational and may not be accessible to persons with disabilities.



Last updated July 12, 2021