Frequently Asked Questions

What types of death are most prevalent in my area of the state?

Many factors contribute to the overall child death rate of an area as well as to the prevalence of the different types of deaths that occur in an area. Some of these factors could include: population, age distribution of population, race, economic status, availability of and access to medical care, access to firearms, access to illicit drugs, minor's access to alcohol, and availability of safety-related education. Typically, neonatal deaths make up the largest portion of deaths to children ages 0-18 in any area. Next in line are deaths due to unintentional injuries (accidents). The largest portion of those deaths are due to motor vehicle crashes, with the majority of victims being teenagers. To find out what the most prevalent types of death are in your area of Michigan, please visit our Participating Counties page

What deaths are reviewed by Child Death Review Teams?

Ideally, all deaths of children 18 years of age or younger are reviewed by local Child Death Review Teams. Some counties have a high number of deaths and review only deaths that were under the purview of the County Medical Examiner (Accidents, Homicides, Suicides or deaths that were sudden or unexpected).
More information about reviewable deaths can be found HERE.

What authority do Child Death Review Teams have to review these deaths?

Public Act 220 of 1995 amends Section 7 of the Child Protection Law, to support the establishment and operation of local review teams. It also allows DHS team members to share information from the Child Protective Services Central Registry. Public Act 167 of 1997 established the membership requirements of local child death review teams and established a Child Death State Advisory Team to provide guidance to local teams and to make recommendations to the Governor and Michigan legislature based on local findings.

What kind of information is collected at Child Death Review Team Meetings?

At Child Death Review Meetings, team members share anything that they know regarding the circumstances of the child's death. The sources of this information can include, but are not limited to: death scene investigations, other law enforcement information, Child Protective Services records, Medical Examiner reports (including autopsy results and toxicology screens), other medical records, Emergency Medical Services records, and any other pertinent information.

What is done with the information?

Information gathered during a Child Death Review meeting is entered onto a Child Death Review Report Form and entered into an secured online database. The data is then analyzed and reported in aggregate form in the annual report of the Michigan Child Death State Advisory Team. This report is required by law and intended to guide state policy and practice with regard to child health, safety and welfare. You can view the report by going to the CDR Publications page of this website.

Who can be on a local Child Death review Team?

Teams must consist of at least: the county Medical Examiner, the county Prosecutor and representatives of local law enforcement, public health and Department of Human Services. Additional team membership is decided by the team and can include: Emergency Medical Services personnel, physicians, nurses, emergency room personnel, tribal health or social services, representatives from schools, human service collaborative bodies, Community Mental Health, courts, private social service agencies, funeral homes, fire departments, churches or others as seen fit by the local teams.

What kind of training does a member of a Child Death Review Team receive?

An annual training is provided by the Michigan Child Death Review program for new team members. It consists of information about the roles of the various core team members, information about specific causes of child death, how to conduct effective reviews and how to work toward the prevention of other deaths. It is free to eligible team members.

Are Child Death Review Team Meetings open to the public?

No. PA 167 of 1997 establishes the confidentiality of the review meetings and exempted them from the Freedom of Information Act. The review process is considered public health surveillance. It is not an investigative body. It is intended only to increase our state's knowledge of how and why our children are dying and to aide in the prevention of future child deaths.

How do I find out about initiatives being done by representatives from the Child Death Review Team in my area?

Initiatives that have been done by local teams are reported in the annual report of the Michigan Child Death State Advisory Team. Additionally, the Prevention in Action area of our website is a new feature designed to show what is being done around Michigan in the area of prevention. Any other information not listed in these two resources can be obtained from the local team coordinator. Contact information for all Michigan team coordinators can be found by clicking on the corresponding county on the map found on the participating counties section of

Do other states have programs similar to the Michigan Child Death Review Program?

Yes. Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia all have some form of Child Death Review. Some states have only state-level teams, some have only local-level teams, and some, like Michigan, have both. The parameters for how the programs operate vary by state. You can see how other states conduct their reviews by visiting the web site of the National MCH Center for Child Death Review at: www.childdeathreview.org.