Child fatality review: an international movement

Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Jun;26(6-7):619-36. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(02)00337-x.


Objective: This article discusses the multidisciplinary Child Fatality Review process in the US, Canada, and Australia, including common patterns, unique programs, changes over time, impact on multiagency systems, and future directions.

Method: An open-ended survey was shared with teams listed in the directories of the Los Angeles County Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect National Center on Child Fatality Review (ICAN-NCFR). Responses were received from 58 state and local Child Fatality Review teams.

Results: Teams exist in all 50 states, Washington, DC, most Canadian provinces, and New South Wales, Australia. Team structure varies but generally includes a similar core membership, and most teams select cases from coroner/medical examiner or vital statistics records through established protocols. While most case review is conducted by local teams, state teams may review cases because of small size or sparse population or choose to review specific types of cases (e.g., Child Protective Services). State teams often support local review through training, resources, policy development, and political assistance. An increasing number of teams collect data and issue reports, often published on the internet, allowing teams to share resources.

Conclusions: Teams have matured with time, often broadening their intake spectrum, membership and data collection, and developing and following through with case management or systems change recommendations. Teams continue to improve multiagency interaction and are committed to the prevention of child injury and death. The number of teams, as well as their scope and expertise, continues to increase, developing into a national/international system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death / trends
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child Abuse / mortality
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • United States / epidemiology