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Government establishes child death review process

June 18, 2012

Government Introduces Amendment to Establish Child Death Review Process

The care and protection of children in Newfoundland and Labrador is a priority for the Provincial Government and will be further strengthened with amendments to the Fatalities Investigations Act. The amendments introduced today in the House of Assembly will establish a child death review process for the purpose of preventing similar deaths and discovering and monitoring trends in those deaths.

“This child death review process led by a committee of experts will enable the province to learn from and help prevent the untimely deaths of children in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “A child death review is a collaborative, multidisciplinary process that works to understand child deaths in order to prevent harm to other children.”

Under this new process, a committee will be established to review child and pregnancy-related deaths which are reported to the Chief Medical Examiner according to his mandate under the Fatalities Investigations Act. Through a written review, the committee will focus on the circumstances leading to the death of a child and the response to that death and determine whether further evaluation of those deaths is necessary or desirable in the public interest. In addition, the committee may further promote prevention through education, identify systemic issues and make recommendations respecting the protection of the health, safety and well-being of children. This committee will only commence its review after the Chief Medical Examiner has completed an investigation under the act.

The membership of the committee will be determined by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will include the Chief Medical Examiner. Other members appointed to the committee may include experts from such disciplines as pediatric and obstetric medicine, community health, policing and investigation, child protection, forensic pathology, law, and Aboriginal interests.

“While the model that we will implement in this province has many similarities to child death review processes in other jurisdictions across Canada and in the United States, this province will be one of the few jurisdictions to legislate the child death review process,” said Minister Collins. “This includes making public within 60 days those recommendations of the report relating to relevant protocols, policies and procedures, standards and legislation, linkages and coordination of services and overall improvements to services affecting women and children.”

The amendments to the Fatalities Investigations Act will be proclaimed once members of the committee have been appointed and regulations pertaining to the policy and procedures are in place.

Link to the original news release

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