The Meigs County Child Fatality Review Board (CFRB) met on March 8 in the conference room of the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) to review two child deaths: one that occurred in 2016 and one that occurred in 2015 (but was pending investigation and was unable to be reviewed during the 2016 meeting). The following were in attendance: Meigs Co. Health Commissioner/CFRB Chair Marc Barr; MCHD Administrator/CFRB Coordinator Courtney Midkiff; Meigs County Coroner Daniel Whiteley; Meigs County Department of Jobs and Family Services Executive Director Chris Shank; Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley; Drs. Wilma Mansfield and Jon Sullivan of Holzer Health System and Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Executive Director Robin Harris.
Per the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 307.621 – “A board of county commissioners shall appoint a health commissioner of the board of health of a city or general health district that is entirely or partially located in the county in which the board of county commissioners is located to establish a CFRB to review the deaths of children under eighteen years of age.”
The CFRB’s purpose is to decrease the incidence of preventable child deaths by doing all of the following: Promoting cooperation, collaboration, and communication between all groups, professions, agencies, or entities that serve families and children; Maintaining a comprehensive database of all child deaths that occur in the county or region served by the child fatality review board in order to develop an understanding of the causes and incidence of those deaths; Recommending and developing plans for implementing local service and program changes and changes to the groups, professions, agencies, or entities that serve families and children that might prevent child deaths; Advising the department of health of aggregate data, trends, and patterns concerning child deaths.
ORC 307.622 determines who are members of child fatality review board. The health commissioner shall select six members to serve on the child fatality review board along with the commissioner. The review board shall consist of the following: A county coroner or designee; The chief of police of a police department or the sheriff that serves the greatest population in the county or region or a designee of the chief or sheriff; The executive director of a public children services agency or designee; A public health official or designee; The executive director of a board of alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health services or designee; A physician who holds a certificate issued pursuant to Chapter 4731. of the Revised Code authorizing the practice of medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine and surgery, specializes in pediatric or family medicine, and currently practices pediatric or family medicine. The majority of the members of a review board may invite additional members to serve on the board.
A CFRB member doesn’t receive any compensation for, and shall not be paid for any expenses incurred pursuant to, fulfilling the member’s duties on the board unless compensation for, or payment for expenses incurred pursuant to, those duties is received pursuant to a member’s regular employment.
How is the CFRB organized? The health commissioner that establishes the review board or a representative of the health commissioner convenes meetings and is the chairperson of the CFRB. The person designated to convene the CFRB convenes it at least once a year to review, in accordance with the
ORC, the deaths of all children under eighteen years of age who, at the time of death, were residents of the county. CFRB meetings are not public meetings and are not subject to Sunshine Laws. All statements, work products and information related to CFR are confidential. Confidentiality violations are second degree misdemeanors.
A CFRB may not conduct a review of the death of a child while an investigation of the death or prosecution of a person for causing the death is pending unless the prosecuting attorney agrees to allow the review. The law enforcement agency conducting the criminal investigation, on the conclusion of the investigation, and the prosecuting attorney prosecuting the case, on the conclusion of the prosecution, shall notify the chairperson of the review board of the conclusion.
By the first day of April of each year, the person convening the child fatality review board shall prepare and submit to the Ohio department of health a report that summarizes the following information with respect to the child deaths that were reviewed by the review board in the previous calendar year: The cause of death; Factors contributing to death; Age; Sex; Race; The geographic location of death; The year of death.
I have already completed this report on behalf of Meigs County as the CFRB Coordinator. The report specifies the number of child deaths that were not reviewed during the previous calendar year. The report includes recommendations for actions that might prevent other deaths, as well as any other information the review board determines should be included. This report is considered public records under section 149.43 of the ORC. Meanwhile, the CFRB submits individual data with respect to each child death review into the national child death review database, which is accessible by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The individual data includes the information specified above and any other information the board considers relevant to the review. Individual data related to a child death review that is contained in the national/ODH child death review database is not a public record.
On or before the thirtieth day of September of each year, the ODH and the children’s trust fund board jointly prepares and publishes a report organizing and setting forth the data from the national/ODH child death review database, data in all the reports provided by CFRBs in their annual reports for the previous calendar year, and recommendations for any changes to law and policy that might prevent future deaths. The ODH and the children’s trust fund board jointly provide a copy of the report to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the minority leaders of the house of representatives and the senate, each county or regional CFRB, and each county or regional family and children first council.
For more information, please contact me via telephone at 7409926626 or via email at [email protected]
Courtney Midkiff is the Administrator/Vital Statistics Registrar with the Meigs County Health Department