Team Operating Procedures

*Information Sharing *

* Confidentiality *

* Obtaining Names for Team Reviews *

* Child Death Information Distribution *

* Child Fatality Summary Sheet Information *

* Record Keeping *

Information Sharing

Child death review teams are not a mechanism for criticizing or second‑guessing any agency decisions; they are a forum for the sharing of information essential to the improvement of a community's response to child fatalities. 

Teams can request information and records regarding a deceased child as needed to carry out their duties. Background and current information from team members’ records and other sources is necessary to assess circumstances of death. 

Information from a review can contribute significantly to the outcome of a pending investigation. Team members should use the knowledge and expertise obtained during confidential reviews to gather additional input for pending investigations.

Teams can institute standing requests for records and information to facilitate the gathering of information for death reviews. Such requests should be addressed to the "custodian of the records," or agency director and should include the review team authorizing statute, information regarding the team’s operation and purpose, and a copy of the team's interagency agreement. These requests are particularly useful for acquiring information from agencies that are not represented on the team. Such requests can enhance a team's ability to gather required medical information, especially those that deal with numerous hospitals.

In reviewing deaths of child residents of other counties, team members should contact their corresponding agencies in those counties and request information. 

Confidentiality

PA 167 of 1997 provides safeguards for the confidential exchange of information.  At a review team meeting, all data and information regarding the death of an identified child is confidential. Team members cannot disclose any confidential information acquired at the review, except within the mandates of their agencies’ responsibilities.

The statistical compilation of a review team, compiled by the State Child Death Review Program, is public record if it does not have a case identifying number attached to it.

Obtaining Names for Team Reviews

  1. Team coordinators should work closely with the medical examiner’s office to regularly obtain a roster of all child deaths that come through that office. 
  2. Team coordinators should work closely with the county clerk’s office to obtain the names of all other children who have died in the county.
  3. The State Child Death Review Program will send copies of resident child death certificates to county coordinators as they become available from MDCH. This can take a number of months after a death. 
  4. County coordinators who have the names of children who died in their counties but lived elsewhere (non-resident occurrences) should send those names to the county review team coordinator where the children lived. 

Child Death Information Distribution 

The team coordinator compiles and sends to all review team members a summary sheet for each death to be reviewed. This information is usually gleaned from the death certificate. Team members should examine the list and search their own agency records for information pertaining to each death. For confidentiality purposes, death certificates are usually not distributed to team members until the meeting convenes. 

Child Fatality Summary Sheet Information

The following information is compiled on the child fatality summary sheet: 

  1. Deceased child's name.
  2. Child's ethnicity, age, and gender.
  3. Child's date of birth and date of death.
  4. Mother's name and address (both maiden and current names are usually required for background checks and prior Child Protective Service involvement). If mother's name is unavailable, use father's or legal guardian's name and address.
  5. Cause of death (may be pending when the list is initially written). Cause of death is the specific reason the child died, e.g., car accident, blunt force head injury, gunshot, pneumonia.
  6. Manner of death. This will be either a natural, homicide, suicide, accidental or undetermined death.

Record Keeping 

Team members come to each meeting with their own records and leave with their own records. No transfer of written materials on specific cases should occur at review meetings. 

The Michigan Child Death Review Report is completed on all deaths reviewed. These reports are either entered online by the county team or are sent to the State Child Death Review Program and entered into a secure database. The coordinator should begin filling out report forms prior to review meetings. Some coordinators may ask other team members to begin filling out report forms. 

The team coordinator can maintain a record of issues raised relating to team operation. Information dealing with specific cases should be verbal and kept only in agencies' private notes.