Illinois established multi-disciplinary and multi-agency Child Death Review Teams (CDRT) in 1995. They consist of a network of 9 regional teams with review and coordination by a statewide Executive Council. As related in their annual report, “in accordance with state statute this system reviews unexpected and unexplained deaths of children 17 years of age or younger”. Reviews target, in particular, deaths of children who are “known to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)” as well as “the deaths of other children who died unexpectedly”.
As someone said, the CDRT system “serves as the voice of child death review in Illinois”. By means of case review and discussion utilizing a broad expertise brought by the team, recommendations are made regarding actions that might be taken to prevent similar deaths in the future. This will be particularly true with changes made with recent legislation. With its implementation not only will preventative recommendations be made to DCFS, but a new reporting mechanism is added to report to members of the state legislature for their review and possible action. I see this as a great addition to the effort to prevent childhood deaths; although there are a few other provisions in the legislation as passed for which I am waiting to see how the implementation goes.
I look forward to continued participation in this effort, 2 years on the regional level and now as a member of the Executive Council. I am a bit unique for them, because I bring not only my expertise as a Coroner, but also my years of Emergency Medicine experience, Primary Care experience, and years of experience doing child abuse and child sexual abuse evidentiary exams for the local Child Advocacy Center.